Forget route 66, here’s five lesser-known journeys to inspire your travels
Whether driving through an epic volcanic landscape, enjoying the salt-whipped rush of a coastal road, or an exhilarating mountain pass, there’s nothing quite like a road trip – we should know, we’ve just finished one of our own. Driving around in our beloved airstream, we met some amazing people and basked in the heatwave sun, but most of all we learnt that nothing quite compares to life on the road. So, as we start planning our next free-wheeling adventure, we asked travel writer Ianthe Butt to fill us in on five brilliant, lesser-known road trips to note.
The drive: The Epicurean Way
The distance: A 140 mile, 4-5 day loop from Adelaide, with overnight stays in four South Australian wine regions.
The highlights: Whizzing past koalas along eucalyptus-lined roads and goggling at Piccadilly Valley views in the Adelaide Hills. Heading north, drive along palm-fringed Seppeltsfield Road, soak up rural Barossa views then stay at foodie Hutton Vale Farm. Next, an hour’s drive north, do vineside glamping in the Clare Valley, before heading south to McLaren Vale’s impressive beaches, sleeping over at Hotel California Road at sustainable winery Inkwell, before finishing up at Adelaide’s Central Market. For more information visit the website.
The drive: The Diamond Circle
The distance: A 162 mile circuit knitting together jaw-dropping natural beauty spots in Northern Iceland, doable-in-a-day, best savoured over three.
The highlights: Kick things off at the cascading ‘Waterfall of the Gods,’ Goðafoss - not far from Akureyri - then drive to the wetlands and colbalt and emerald green waters of volcanic Lake Mývatn and soak in milky-blue geothermal waters at Mývatn Nature Baths. From here, a snaking drive through the Námaskarð Pass leads to Dettifoss waterfall. Next, skirt the Tjörnes peninsula to Húsavík - for seasonal whale watching trips - before reaching Goðafoss 50km later.
The drive: The South West Coastal 300
The distance: A 300-mile loop in South West Scotland taking in dramatic coastal stretches and countryside inland, go slow over 7 days
The highlights: Starting in Dumfries enjoy forest views in Mabie Forest Park, then wonder at Criffel Hill - or climb it if you’re feeling energetic. Swoop along the Solway Coast and enjoy stunning panoramas, and paddles, at Sandyhills Beach, before heading inland to Galloway’s lush forest. Spy the salt marshes of Wigtown Bay on day four, before stopping to walk the Mull of Galloway Trail on day five. Next, whizz up the peppered-with-castles Ayrshire Coast before a final day osprey spotting on Loch Doon, finishing up at the Grey Mare’s Tail waterfall near Moffat. For more information visit South west Scotland.
The drive: The West Coast Way
The distance: A 385-mile popular-with-locals route, packing South African seaside swagger, mountain passes and expansive plains, which can fill a leisurely 7 days.
The highlights: From Cape Town head north on the R27 to the west coast to fishing village Churchhaven, whizz along open road flanked by farmland where ostriches sunbask, wide wheatfields and vineyards. Pit stop in Langebaan to marvel at its shimmering lagoon, and visit the wildlife-rich fynbos, wetland and platinum dunes of the West Coast National Park (and between Aug-Oct its wildflower carpets). Admire windswept Atlantic beach views as you continue to the seaside in Paternoster before heading inland the ruddy Cederberg Mountains, before soaking up Swartland’s farmland vistas and returning to Cape Town. For more information visit West Coast Way and find some gorgeous accommodation en route with Perfect Hideaways.
The drive: The Overseas Highway
The distance: An 113-mile overwater wonder, in the Sunshine State
The highlights: The southernmost leg of Highway US1, running from Miami through the Florida Keys has earned the nickname ‘the highway that goes to sea’ with good reason. Forty-two bridges join the dots between this beach-fringed string of tropical islands all the way to Key West, with dizzying views out to the turquoise Atlantic Ocean along the way. Stop to snorkel with whirls of tropical fish at Key Largo’s John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, feel like you’re driving on water as you drive along has-to-be-seen-to-be-believed Seven Mile Bridge, before enjoying bewitching sunsets at Key West’s Mallory Square.