Imagine cruising along the coastal highway and getting to your destination just in time for sunset – driving tours often give travelers the kind of freedom and flexibility that you can’t get while backpacking. They allow you to explore at your own leisurely pace, in the comfort of your own vehicle. There are plenty of destinations that offer smooth roads that are easy to navigate and find your way around. Here are just some of them based on my own experience, feel free to share more!
1. New Zealand
With outstanding natural landscapes and cultural heritage, New Zealand is often voted as the best driving tour destination in the world. It’s best to take your time and spend at least 3 weeks driving through New Zealand. Starting from Auckland, the most popular driving route is headed towards the thermal reserves of Rotorua and Waitomo, before heading down to Napier Hastings. The Southern Scenic Route guarantees some leisure driving in the remote wilderness of Riverton and Te Anau.
Flickr creative commons photo by IanL
2. South Africa
Self-driving South Africa is a magical way to wander through its undulating coastline, sprawling vineyards and wildlife nature parks. You can easily rent a 4X4 or a campervan and stop by its charming towns and beach towns. An attractive inland route – the Garden route- takes you from Cape Town to George, through the wine farms of Breede River Valley and intriguing rock formations at Montagu. If you are not keen on driving yourself, you can easily book yourself on tailor made holidays to bring you on this scenic route.
Flickr creative commons photo by geoftheref
Exploring Australia on a campervan is a classic way to see the country. There are plenty of options to choose from – the Northern Territory promises remote outback adventure, while Queensland will mean plenty of beach fun, underwater explorations and sunshine. I personally favor the drive from Melbourne to Adelaide via the Great Ocean Road, passing wine valleys and penguin-infested lands.
Flickr creative commons photo by Bram Souffreau
Trips to Ireland are usually not complete without a self-drive tour along rugged cliff edges and luscious green plains. To explore the far-flung rural areas of Ireland, there’s no better way than renting a vehicle. A popular route starts from Waterford, cruising through Cobh and Kinsale and then admiring the awe-inspiring scenery at the Ring of Kerry. Those starting from Dublin can also drive towards Cliffs of Moher, Country Clare and visit the megalithic tombs of Newgrange.
Flickr creative commons photo by catsper
Since I live in Spain, it’s hard not to be biased about the country. It’s one of the best places to go on road trips, charming villages and historical sites are just short driving distances from major cities. I highly recommend driving in Galicia, Northern Spain, with scenic routes and gorgeous landscapes to enthrall roadtrippers. From Pontevedra, you can easily drive out to small charming beach towns along the coast, stop for some outrageous seafood and then continue on to reach Santiago de Compostela, an important city for the religious Spaniards.
Argentina, with its long distances and large area, is better seen on wheels. There are plenty of routes all over the country and driving conditions are excellent. I personally enjoyed the drive from Salta through the Andean villages of Purmamarca and Humahuaca, and passing the Humahuaca Canyon with cactus-strewn landscapes and colorful slopes.
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