Somewhere on this planet there’s an awesome stretch of road waiting to be driven on – pack your bags for six stunning rides
Some sights are best taken in from the backseat or passenger view of a car ride. Whether you love long drives, or greedy to visually devour entire landscapes in a limited time, or want to take the next leg of your journey slow, road trips – more so those that go on for days surrounded with horizons of wild, foreign beauty – road trips are recommended. Throw in the bonus of stopping the car when you come across photo opportunities make long drives an incomparable mode of travel. These are the best road trips offered in six continents:
THE TIBETAN HIGHLANDS, CHINA
Accessible from Kunming, this 2,000-odd kilometre road trip will take through places like Lijang, Shangri-La and the Tibetan Plateau. Make no mistake though; driving along this route is challenging and is immensely remote, so those without nerves of steel should think twice. The trade-off though is that you get a mixture of highways, dirt roads and exciting mountain roads with stunning views of the surrounding mountain range in exchange for your troubles. It even ends at Lhasa, where Jokhang, Tibetan Buddhism’s holiest shrine, is located. So remember to thank Buddha for a safe trip and an awesome drive once you’re there.
SALAR DE UYINI, BOLIVIA
Located in the Potosi region in Bolivia and measuring over 10,000 square kilometres, the Salar De Uyini resembles a set out of Mad Max. Driving on the world’s largest salt lake is a surreal experience but not overtly difficult because it’s mostly flat with light parts that do require light off-roading. The run over Salar De Uyini takes approximately 3-4 days to complete – not that you’d be complaining, as you’ll be too distracted by the stunning view.
THE RING ROAD, ICELAND
Also known as Route 1, the ring-road that runs around Iceland showcases the country’s jaw-dropping landscape. The 1,340km road takes you through valleys and snow-capped mountains to lava fields and fjords, making this trip arguably not only the prettiest but also perhaps the most diverse on the list. Bring the extra SD cards for this one, as there’s no room for regrets.
OCEAN DRIVE, USA
Portland is the unofficial ‘capital of cool’ in the States, owing to its vibrant music and art scene as well as rising food and beverage movement. And believe it or not, it’s also got bragging rights to one of the best stretches of road in the country. The Ocean Drive takes you along the Oregon coast, which is peppered with miles of beautiful empty beaches and quaint seaside villages. The trip itself isn’t long – it’s less than 400km – but we’ll bet good money that the stopovers you make along the way will stretch this one beyond a mere couple of days.
SOUTH ISLAND DRIVE, NEW ZEALAND
You’ll start off at Christchurch before heading to the small towns of Wanaka, Greymouth, Christchurch and Mt Cook on this return trip. The drive takes you through amazing roads where you’ll be treated to stunning views of the Southern Alps, Fiordlands and Glaciers, as well as coastlines. A decently paced drive will take up at least eight days on the entire loop and you can even opt for some adrenaline-pumping excursions along the way.
THE GARDEN ROUTE, SOUTH AFRICA
South Africa has two awesome roads – the more famously known Panorama Route and the equally incredible Garden Route that stretches across the coastal plains of Mossel Bay on the Western Cape, with the Storms Rover Mouth in the East. The drive is simple and beautiful; with views of mountains and vineyards on one end and rocky coasts and beaches on the other.