« The World's Most Poached Animals | Main | Earth's Most Challenging Mountains »

The World's Greatest Road Trips

There’s still something very mythical and romantic about a road trip. The spontaneity, the adventure or simply the endless conversation and banter with those dear to us, the whole idea of road trips will always hold a soft spot in our souls. Here, then, are some of the very best you can partake in.

Route 66, U.S.A

Is there a more famous road trip anywhere? No, hence starting off with route 66. It might now be a bit of a cliché but, let’s face it; it could only have become a cliché if it was pretty darn good to begin with. Route 66 was established in the 1920’s and stretches from Chicago in Illinois across eight states, ending in Santa Monica, California, covering some two and a half thousand miles. Its original purpose was to serve the hundreds of thousands of people migrating west to what they hoped was a more profitable life. Nowadays, it’s a tourist trap, bucket list item and pull for those people looking to explore ‘Real America’. The variety is a key selling point of this road trip, as your trekking through multiple states gives you wholly different histories, traditions and cultures that only the diversity of America can provide. Much of the original route 66 has been renovated or redirected over the years, thanks to its excessive usage, but you can still find the original. For anyone looking to ease their way into long distance road tripping, route 66 might be the perfect start.

Whilst in the States why not check out our Florida Animal Rescue Project.

flickr | Vicente VillamónThe Ring Road, Iceland

The naming of this one is simple, direct and to the point. Iceland’s Ring Road is a road that forms a ring all around the country. Iceland’s Route 1 twists and turns for eight hundred miles, through various major settlements and, this being Iceland, past a multitude of absurdly beautiful landscapes. It rolls past glaciers, lagoons, volcanos, geysers, waterfalls, rivers and a whole host of other amazing natural wonders. This road trip is for those people who like a circuit, rather than an A to B route. There’s no doubt this is the best way to experience Iceland, as you get up close and personal with its cities and countryside. Although The Ring Road might not be one of the most well-known road trips in the road, it can go toe to toe with anyone of them for its aesthetic wonders, diversity and sheer gut-punching awe factor. Pack a camera, a woolly hat and start to consider yourself a real adventurer.

flickr | GonserasThe Pan-America Highway, the Americas

This one is not for the faint hearted. In fact, for your road trippers out there, this is Everest. The Pan-America Highway is a road that traverses the entirety of North AND South America. Yes, that’s right, 19,000 miles of open road, changing landscapes and cultures and more adventure than you can get pretty much anywhere else. Travelling through 17 (!) countries across that distance, the Pan-America Highway was established in the 1920’s originally and took many years to complete, with multiple countries joining in the process along the way. So long and complex is this road, and through so many underdeveloped countries, that it is still not finished in some places. Along the way you can experience the harsh and unyielding conditions of Alaska and northern Canada, the cool and tempered climates of central America and the Caribbean sea, down into the sweltering and stifling Amazon before being struck dumb by the ridiculous landscape of the Andes. It has the whole package, whatever your needs and wants and desires from travel.

Part of this trip can done with the Frontier Central America Ethical Adventure Trail.

flickr | A. DuarteThe Garden Route, South Africa

South Africa is gradually starting to earn a reputation as a top destination. Whether it’s the attractions of cities like Cape Town or the natural wonders of the Kruger National park, the Rainbow Nation is climbing the list of the best countries to visit in the world. For this list, it’s The Garden Route that catches our eye. Starting off in Cape Town, The Garden Route may only be 150 miles long, but it takes in some of the best activities you can do in South Africa, including cage diving with Great White Sharks. It’s jam packed with things to do, scenery to gape at and friendly people to meet. Also, Bloukrans’s Bridge has the world’s highest commercial bungee jump, for the more daring among you. Rolling along the southern coast line of Africa in one of the world’s fairest climates is truly spectacular and this road trip offers you anything from adventure and fun to relaxation and tranquillity.

Frontier has a brand new project in South Africa working on Great White Shark Research. Find out how to get involved here.

flickr | bass_nrollGreat Ocean Road, Australia

This great road trip is actually registered with Australian National Heritage and stretches for 150 miles along Australia’s southern coastline. It was planned towards the end of the First World War to provide construction work to returning soldiers as well as increase the accessibility to some of the most remote areas of New South Wales and Victoria. As a result it also serves as the world’s largest war memorial. Today, it’s a road trippers dream. Vast expanses of the Open Ocean and rugged coastline greet travellers as they explore their way through some of the most relaxed and picturesque coastal towns in the world. For those of you who prefer a fast pace of life, Melbourne lies at the end of the Great Ocean Road. This route takes in all the water activities you could want as well as amazing landscapes and scenery including the iconic 12 Apostles. Australia is a hugely popular destination, and the Great Ocean Road is one of the best ways to experience it.

For those of you heading down under and want some help settling in, check out the Frontier Australia Welcome Programmes for those arriving in Melbourne, Cairns or Brisbane.

pixabay | bernardhoaYour bags are already packed, aren’t they? So which one are you going for? You certainly can’t go wrong with any of these road trips, there’s something for everyone. It can be about more than just the physical location of the road trip however. It’s about indulging in the place you are with whomever you are there with, regardless of where that is. A two hour road trip to a festival can be just as fun as a two month road trip in far eastern Russia. It is what you make it, so make it something awesome.

By Guy Bezant - Online Journalism Intern

Frontier runs conservationdevelopmentteaching and adventure travel projects in over 50 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!

See more from our volunteers #Frontiervolunteer