As many countries head into the dog days of summer, air travel is, unfortunately, still on hold in most parts of the world. But while few of us have the option of hopping on a plane to satiate our wanderlust, a road trip presents a decent alternative for the moment.
From undulating coastal roads to routes that wind through mountainous terrain, these scenic drives will allow you to get up close and personal with the great outdoors while discovering new sights. And once the skies reopen, consider planning your future travel itineraries around these routes – they’re all accessible via a Singapore Airlines destination city.
1. Great Ocean Road, Australia
Stretching from the seaside resort town Torquay (roughly a 90-minute drive from Melbourne) in the state of Queensland to the fishing village of Nelson along the South Australian border, the Great Ocean Road is a 400km drive that can be comfortably completed in three days. Along the way, you’ll pass a host of striking attractions, including the famous Twelve Apostles: a series of limestone rock formations jutting out of the sea that were formed by millions of years of erosion. Other highlights include the shorter – but no less impressive – limestone stacks at the Bay of Islands, the beach town of Lorne and the azure swells at Bells Beach.
2. Ilju Road, South Korea
Located on the picturesque South Korean island of Jeju, this easy coastal drive runs along the island’s circumference, offering stunning views of the ocean and Jeju’s iconic basalt rock formations. Two key attractions to stop at along the way are Mount Sangban (or Sangbansan) and Mount Songak (Songgaksan). The former is a craggy rock structure that’s surrounded by eye-catching bright yellow rapeseed flowers in the spring, while the latter is an active, double-cratered volcano bordering the sea. If you’re not pressed for time, you can make a detour further inland to Hallasan – this shield volcano and national park in the centre of the island is South Korea’s highest peak. It can get rather windy along the route, so be sure to dress appropriately.
3. Route 62, South Africa
This roughly 850km route that ribbons between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth should definitely be on the list for wine lovers. Dotted at regular intervals along the way are plenty of vineyards that the country is famous for, as well as wineries that you can drop in at to do some sampling (though be sure to have a designated driver). The journey also boasts plenty of tourist attractions, including Meerkat Magic, a meerkat conservation and research organisation; the Cango Caves, a series of limestone cave formations that visitors can explore via guided tours; and the Warmwaterberg Spa, which is home to a mineral spring and Russian baths.
4. Amalfi Coast Road, Italy
For the ultimate summer Italian road trip, you can’t go wrong with a jaunt along the Amalfi Coast. The route from Salerno to Sorrento is around 55km and meanders through coastal towns such as Positano, Amalfi and Minori, so consider spreading out your excursion and spending some time in each town. Positano is known for its colourful houses stacked along the cliffside and narrow streets dotted with cafés and restaurants; Amalfi, a Unesco World Heritage Site, is home to a gorgeous cathedral; and Minori is a must-visit for its historical architecture. As the road is very narrow in places, it is advisable to rent a smaller car and, if possible, avoiding peak driving times.
5. Milford Road, New Zealand
New Zealand boasts some of the world’s most impressive geological formations, so it’s perhaps no surprise that a journey from the town of Te Anau to Milford Sound landed on this list. The 118km road through Fiordland National Park reaches a whopping 940 metres above sea level at its peak and winds through spectacular scenery, including craggy mountain ranges, seemingly endless stretches of valleys, crystal clear lakes and native rainforests. Two spots that make for excellent photo opportunities are Homer Tunnel, a 1.2km-long stretch of tunnel that runs through solid rock; and the Mirror Lakes, which offer stunning reflections of the surrounding Earl Mountains.
6. Pacific Coast Highway, California
You’ll find the quintessential summer American road trip in California, running around 200km along the central California coast between Monterey in the north and Morro Bay in the south. The cliff-hugging route allows for truly breath-taking views of the Pacific Ocean and redwood forests that the region is famous for, and passes through the fabled Big Sur and the much-photographed Bixby Creek Bridge (as seen on HBO’s Big Little Lies, among other film and television shows). There are also plenty of towns and attractions to stop-off at along the way – including the fairy tale-like seaside town of Carmel-by-the-Sea; Point Lobos State Reserve known for its stunning scenery; and the cliff-top restaurant Nepenthe, which offers panoramic views of the surroundings.