Our summary of some of the great and most scenic drives around the world.
Garden Route, South Africa
Hugging the very southern tip of Africa between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, this 300km drive from Mossel Bay to Storms River is illuminated by lush mountains and colourful wildflowers — hence the name. The severe rocky coastline is most impressive around the Storms River Mouth, which boasts a dramatic suspension bridge and a web of hiking trails to explore on foot.
Route 66, USA
“More than two thousand miles all the way” according to the lyrics of Nat King Cole’s iconic song, this historic road trip was nicknamed ‘the main street of America’ after thousands made the trek from Chicago to California seeking a better life out west during the Great Depression. A glimpse into the truck stops, neon signs, and kitsch diners with waitresses called Mabel offering to top up your coffee that make up small-town USA.
Great Ocean Road, Australia
One of the world’s premier coastal drives, curving around 300km of Victorian coast west of Melbourne. The cliffside drive links the towering limestone structures of the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge with untouched rainforest, popular walking trails, native wildlife, some of the country’s best surf breaks, quaint seaside villages.
Southern Scenic Route, New Zealand
NZ’s best road trip cuts through the scenery that provided such an epic backdrop to Lord of the Rings, connecting Dunedin and Queenstown via the Fiordland National Park. The 610km drive features beaches, forests, and lakes — but the highlight is the Milford Road from Te Anau to Milford sound, wedged in a valley between the craggy snow-capped mountains of the Southern Alps.
Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia
The world’s largest salt lake is a flat, white expanse of other-worldly terrain for you to explore by 4WD, punctuated every so often by an island of rocks or cacti, decorative piles of salt, or a herd of llamas. During the wet season around Christmas, the 10,000 square kilometres of glassy, dead flat landscape generates a stunning mirror effect.
The Ring Road, Iceland
One of the world’s hottest destinations — figuratively, of course — is looped by the 1300km Route One, a highway winding through Iceland’s dramatic scenery that’s best explored at your own pace on four wheels. You’ll get Instagram fodder you can milk for months with all the waterfalls, geysers, thermal springs, icebergs, mountains, lava fields, volcanic craters, and brilliant blue fjords.