The 6 most beautiful road trips you’ll ever take
It's all about the journey
When it comes to road trips, it really is more about the journey than the destination. Consider this a road trip planner for places you never knew you wanted to go. While arriving at a new destination is always exciting, there’s something uniquely exhilarating about driving across completely unfamiliar landscapes. Perhaps it’s the ever-changing scenery or the sense of adventure that comes from setting off into the unknown. Whatever the case, it’s undeniable that there are a few trips that stand head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to the sheer beauty and majesty of their surroundings. These six routes are some of the very best.
Patagonian Highway, Argentina
Snaking from one end of Argentina almost all the way to the other, the Patagonian Highway (or Ruta Nacional 40, as it’s known to locals) stretches for over 5,000 kilometres. Crossing 20 national parks, 18 major rivers and rising up to 5,000 metres above sea level at one point, this is truly the mother of all road trips. It’s not just about the scale though. Witness beautiful blue glaciers and wander through forests that have stood for thousands of years. See majestic southern right whales in the waters of the Reserva Faunistica Península Valdés. And that barely scrapes the surface of the wonders that Argentina’s longest highway has in store. The best time to drive the Patagonian Highway is December to March - the whole thing will take you a few months, but many travelers just opt to choose part of the epic route.
State Highway 6, New Zealand
It’s hard to pick just one route for a New Zealand road trip - so many different parts of the diminutive island nation vie for attention with breathtaking scenery and quaint little towns. But if you had to choose a single New Zealand trip it would have to be the State Highway 6 route from Nelson to Queenstown. Starting in sunny vineyard country and winding down the western side of the country’s South Island with the Alps on your left and the sea away to your right, this introduces visitors to some of the most spectacular views that New Zealand has to offer.
One of the best ways to experience this drive is at your own pace, with a flexible schedule allowing you to spend time where you wish and move on when you feel like it. Regardless of where you pick up a vehicle, you'll love your NZ road trip.
A82 Road, Scotland
Right in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, the A82 runs from Glasgow all the way up to Inverness. Passing close to many iconic Highland landmarks including Ben Nevis, Loch Lomond, Glen Coe, and Loch Ness, it isn’t the longest A-road in Britain but it’s certainly the most beautiful. This is an Alpine country at its most picturesque. The whole journey can be completed in around 4 hours, but that would do no justice to the regal peaks and solemn lochs that you’d shoot past on your way. Best to make a day of it, or even a couple of days. Booking a car rental grants you the freedom of the Highlands - linger by the glens and hollows as long as you like, and move on when the whim takes you.
“ Say goodbye to six lane highways and rush hour congestion - this route is designed to be experienced at a more leisurely pace. ”
Blue Ridge Parkway, USA
When you want to slow down your pace of life and simply appreciate your surroundings, Blue Ridge Parkway is your only choice for a USA road trip. Say goodbye to six-lane highways and rush hour congestion - this route is designed to be experienced at a more leisurely pace, and believe me, you won’t want to go any faster. There’s no wrong time of the year to drive the 755-kilometre Parkway but both spring and autumn are particularly stunning. The new bloom of spring explodes in a cacophony of colour all along the roadside, while in the fall the brilliance of gold, crimson and purple leaves gives one the distinct impression that this is what the season is really meant to be like. There are plenty of camping spots along the way, and taking the time to experience the land around the Parkway is highly recommended.
Banff and Jasper, Canada
The beauty of Banff National Park is renowned, and this route will take you from Calgary through the very midst of Banff. Hot springs and icefields, mirror lakes and majestic mountains, the sheer scale and variety of the vistas on offer here simply boggle the mind. Jasper National Park may not be as well known as its southern brother, but it’s well worth continuing on - as you drive northward you’ll notice fewer folk on the road, while the grand views keep on unfolding before you. This journey into the heart of two national parks is best undertaken between June and September, taking advantage of the warmer weather.
Great Ocean Road, Australia
Many countries build commemorative monuments or statues to honour their fallen soldiers, but Aussies prefer to do so in a much more grandiose way - by building a great scenic route along the nation’s south-eastern coast. Built between 1919 and 1932 and dedicated to those who lost their lives in WWI, Australia’s Great Ocean Road comes in at a distance of 243 kilometres making it the world’s largest war memorial. It runs between the Victorian towns of Torquay and Allansford and takes in the sights of the famous Surf and Shipwreck Coasts, giving those who travel it unrivalled views of spectacular rock formations, white-sand beaches, limestone cliff faces and rainforests. A car hire pickup in Melbourne is the best option for those looking to experience the Great Ocean Road.