Category Archives: Australia and Oceana

Driving on the edge: A guide to some of the world’s craziest road trips

Written by Jessica Langlands

Although road trips may have originated in America, the rest of the world has quickly caught on. Now with car hire companies offering their services in thousands of locations worldwide no destination is unreachable. You quite literally have the world at your fingertips!

Whilst the thought of driving for hours on end along an endless highway may conjure up memories of being cooped up in the back seat of your parents un- air conditioned car, wedged between a suitcase and the kitchen sink that your mother insisted on bringing, road trips today have evolved into something truly extraordinary.

Nothing gives you freedom like the open road, whether you’re driving fast or slow, have a destination in mind or are simply following your nose, or should I say bumper? road trips are the ultimate example of independent travel. Without having to rely on public transport timetables and guaranteed you’ll always get a window seat there really is no better way to see the world your way.

So, if you are looking for a thrill then look no further then these fantastic driving experiences.

1. The Pacific Coast Highway, USA.

road trip

Although it is one of the most well-known road trips it is by no means any less exciting. Navigating the winding two lane highway, with imposing rocky hills on one side and sheer cliff drops into the ocean on the other, makes for an interesting drive to say the least. The 200km stretch of highway should take around 5 hours to complete and with features such as the Bixby Creek Bridge it is a truly exhilarating experience. Simply wind down the windows,
feel the wind in your hair and soar over the Santa Lucia Mountain Range as it plunges into
the sea.

2. Atlantic Ocean Road, Norway.

road trip

This coastal road is something of a worldwide architectural accomplishment. An 8km stretch of highway made up of a series of bridges that hop from island to island, the Atlantic Ocean Road is without doubt a unique experience. Passing through the incredible Hustadvika coastline, which is renowned for being exhilaratingly dramatic when in storm and the perfect spot for fishing and whale watching in calmer weather. This road has been awarded the status of national tourist route. The almost rollercoaster like peaks and curves of the bridges give the impression that you are teetering on the edge of the ocean. A feeling that is only enhanced by stopping at one (or all) of the four panoramic view and rest areas incorporated into the design of the road. These viewing points offer spectacular vistas so be sure to stop and experience the expert harmony of the natural world and this man-made construct.

3. Icefields Parkway, Canada.

road trip

The Icefields Parkway is not only one of Canada’s national treasures but one of North America’s most impressive landscapes. Drive through the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains amidst a world heritage site and two national parks. This is truly a world-class experience that offers access to a breath-taking wilderness of majestic sweeping valleys and glassy, turquoise blue mountain lakes fed by ancient glaciers. This route is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get up close and personal to one of the world’s most unforgiving environments. It is in fact one of the only places in the world where you can drive right up to a glacier. With highlights such as Bow Lake, Panther Falls and the Ice fields themselves, every turn through this unique landscape is an ‘Oh my gosh!’ moment.

4. The Savannah Way, Australia.

road trip canada

Also known as Australia’s adventure drive, The Savannah Way stretches across the country’s north region from Cairns to Broome. Whether you choose to traverse just a section or cross the continent from coast to coast, drivers on this route are never short of views across striking landscape. It is a journey rooted deeply in the Aboriginal and pioneer heritage and links 15 national parks and five world heritage areas, guaranteeing you wide horizons, ancient gorges and abundant wildlife. As you head west from Cairns’ rainforests and reefs you will have the chance to see iconic waterfalls, embark on your own pioneering adventure on a bush walk and explore the caves of Undara Volcanic National Park. But be warned this route can be dangerous. As you drive through its remote centre, don’t expect to see a gas station or another person for several hours. Make sure you leave well prepared with plenty of supplies.

The natural world is a thing of great beauty and picturesque scenery is not that hard to find, but for truly unforgettable experiences and memories that will last a life time these road trips are a set of adventures that will get your heart racing with views that will make your stomach drop.

Camper Van Road Tripping in Australia – My Vagabond Dream

A friend asked me recently what I’d like to do for my next adventure.  A whole slew of things crossed my mind – a sailing voyage, a big game photo safari, an Antarctic exploration – but none of those quite hit the mark because the truth is – for my next adventure, I want to have my wife and my little girl with me and neither of them are quite ready for those extremes – and then it hit me.

Australia Surf Adventure

I’d like to get a camper van and explore Australia.  The more I thought of it, the more it sounded like the thing to do. So much so, that I started looking at the options.  In truth, at the moment, we don’t have the option of renting an expensive camper or RV or even of airfare when it comes to it – but that didn’t stop me from finding one of the coolest options available – and I’m going to share it with you, because who knows? Maybe you will make it down under before we do.

A little bit of research turned up oneway campervan relocation  – here’s why I love this – you can get a camper van for almost nothing if you drive it to their destination. In some cases they even provide you with gas money! This is so awesome as to be almost unbelievable, but when I checked it out, it’s totally legitimate. Here is a bit from the website:

Rental companies frequently need to move and relocate campervans around the country. This can be due to seasonal changes or because demand for vehicles is greater in different cities due to festivals, sporting occasions or other events. Rather than pay for a driver to relocate a campervan, rental companies offer them to the travelling public at knock down prices producing the perfect win-win outcome.

Could it possibly get any better? Well, I suppose if they paid for my family’s airfare, took us on a big game photo safari, gave us a sailing adventure to the Antarctic, and fed us – that would be better, but that’s a dream and this thing is a reality. Totally off the hook cool.

camper vanIn continuing with my Vagobond dream, I would want to drive from Sydney to Melbourne to visit our friends who live there, we would of course, have to take a surf trip along the Gold Coast and then – if we wanted to get really crazy – we would somehow find a way to get a campervan in Tazmania – I’m told the Tazzies are odd, so we would fit right in.

sailing in australia

Alright, now I’ve got to figure out how to get us to Australia….

What’s your vagabond dream?

Discovering Tahiti Part III

Here is the final installment of our trip to Tahiti….
Punatea Village

On our second to last day in Tahiti, we flew back to Papeete where we rented a car and drove south on Tahiti Nui. Tahiti is beautiful and surprisingly undeveloped, this is especially true when you compare it to the tourist infrastructure that exists on Oahu.

bounty tahitiWe visited Point Venus where Captain Bligh, Fletcher Christian, and The Bounty first visited this idyllic land. Driving further south we were surprised by the lack of signage for what in Hawai’i would have been major tourist stops.

Papeete TahitiAs a result, we missed the leper colony and decided we would rather continue driving than stop at the Nordhoff and Hall museum. We stopped and made sandwiches while watching local kids catch waves and then continued South to Teaheapoo, Tahiti’s most famous surf town. We thought we had lucked out when we found a small cottage for rent next to a scenic pier. We went to get groceries and when we returned found that the manager had made a mistake and already rented it to someone else before we had arrived. He arranged for us to stay at Punatea Village on the East shore of Tahiti Iti. The smaller islet connected to Tahiti Nui by a narrow isthmus of land. We arrived a Punatea shortly before sunset and enjoyed an ice cold Hinano on the porch of a modest bungalow room. For the first time since we had arrived, it rained. It had, we later found out, been raining in Hawai’i the entire time we had been gone.

the good life in Tahiti

After a restful nights sleep, we ate a decent breakfast and decided to continue our circuit of Tahiti. The rain of the night before had created incredible waterfalls that seemed to fall into the midst of simple villages. The rainbows that burst from the sides of steep pali seemed to clothe crumbling huts in vivid pastel colors. Needless to say, we were entranced. I think we both felt that we had never been anywhere quite so beautiful as Tahiti Iti after a night of pouring rain.

The rest of our circuit was a mad dash to see what little roadside attractions exist in Tahiti. The Gauguin Museum was difficult to find as graffiti had completely obfuscated the sign pointing to it. No one had bothered to repair it. The dismal Lagoonarium connected to Captain Bligh’s restaurant smelled of stale urine and was made of hopeful 1970’s plaster of paris ferro concrete and dirty sand. It was a bit like visiting one of those horrible zoos that you find in third world countries. Tahiti’s best value, or maybe not.

church in TahitiThe Museum of Tahiti and her Islands had also seemingly been constructed in a wave of tourist optimism combined with French nuclear guilt in the 1970’s and then abandoned. The strangest part of all these ‘tourist attractions’ was that we seemed to be the only tourists to visit them. They were more vacant than the eyes of a junkie. Keep in mind, while these were somewhat dismal attractions, they were the ONLY attractions, per se. So it was quite a surprise to find no one but us willing to visit them.

Along the road we stopped for Chaud Mace (boiled chestnuts), rambutans, and pickled mango (we think). We opted to not buy any of the tons of fish which vendors lazily hawked to passersby. Our trip ended with a lovely dinner at the International Resort and some surreptitious views of the Captain Bligh Musical Review that was being performed there. We were fortunate enough to be able to catch the accidental sinking of the canoes that came out to welcome The Bounty. I’m guessing the ancient Tahitians were better seamen.