Road trips aren’t just for the movies anymore. Whether you are looking for an afternoon exploring Wales or an adventure further afield let our travel team give you some ideas. Words by Alice Dent and Lucy Pierce.
GREAT OCEAN ROAD
There’s no doubt that Australia is a pretty cool country, and what better way to experience it than by taking a trip along Victoria’s Great Ocean Road? Stretching some 243 kilometres between the towns of Torquay and Warrnambool on the South Eastern Coast, this famous route was originally built after the First World War by returning soldiers; dedicated to the memory of their fallen comrades, it is the largest war memorial in the world. Now a popular tourist destination, the scenic coastal drive is one of the country’s most well-travelled roads, visited by over seven million people every year. The route follows mile after mile of stunning Australian coastline, including the Surf and Shipwreck Coasts, making it extremely popular with surfers from across the world, not least because Torquay is the home of Bells Beach and the longest-running professional surfing competition, The Rip Curl Pro. But surfing opportunities are far from all Great Ocean Road has to offer. Other incredible features include Apollo Bay, Otway Forest, Lake Elizabeth and the Great Ocean Walk, not to mention the area’s most visited tourist spot, the Twelve Apostles rock formation off the shore of the Port Campbell National Park. Outdoor activities include scuba diving, kayaking and whale watching whilst there’s also plenty of great food, shopping, local festivals and exhibitions to be enjoyed in the numerous seaside towns dotted along the coastline. Though relatively short in distance, its sheer quantity and diversity of attractions certainly give Great Ocean Road all the makings of the perfect road trip.
Along the seemingly never-ending beauty of the Pembrokeshire coastal path lies Whitesands Bay, a gemstone of coastline acquiring its name from its wide expanse of fine white sand. Whitesands is a short drive away from Britain’s smallest city St Davids, where you can visit the 12th century old St Davids Cathedral. It’s also a short trip away from the Abereiddy Beach and Blue Lagoon, a popular spot to experience the thrill of cliff jumping and coasteering, as it has previously staged the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. Whitesands is the perfect destination for a weekend away of connecting with the landscape and exploring the many different magnificent spots that the Pembrokeshire coastal path has to offer. The little beach has its own easily accessible camping facilities accompanied by a car park and café, making a weekend stay much more enjoyable. Whitesands is also an extremely popular spot for surfers, as it is known to be one of the best surfing beaches in the country. During the summer you’ll often see surfers, windsurfers, body boarders and canoeists competing for the best waves. Whitesands is also a very convenient setting for those who wish to take on the famous coastal path. From Whitesands itself, you can walk the eleven-mile route to the historic village, Trefin, or you could take the nine-and-a-half-mile route from Caerfai, a multi coloured bay back to Whitesands, passing the historic St Non’s Chapel along your way. For a gorgeous weekend away of sun, sand and scenic views, Whitesands is the best road trip for you!
The infamous Route 66 really is spectacular and hard to beat… The classic journey, travelling west through the centre of the United States from Chicago to Los Angeles runs through hundreds of miles of open road, where examples of American kitsch can be seen at every step of the way. From Cadillac Ranch in Texas, where visitors are encouraged to graffiti the quintessentially American landmark as they pass by, to the multitude of roadside cafes and motels dotted along the trail, you sure as hell won’t be disappointed. However, the allure and mystique of Route 66 is not solely due to the garish neon lights and burger joints. The spectacular American landscape will leave visitors feeling as though they’ve stumbled across the set of a 1960’s western movie, with miles upon miles of open country road and spectacular views of deserts, mountain ranges and of course, the Grand Canyon. This cross-country “Mother Road” is a rich and vital component of American history; a symbol of dreams and hope of a better life on the West Coast during the dust bowl of the 1930’s. The original highway now decommissioned, visitors are still able to replicate a very similar journey, and with a past so rich in culture, it is no surprise the trail is also known as “The Historic Route 66”. The road trip, undeniably mixing garish American kitsch with breath-taking landscapes, is able to be undertaken in a comfortable 7 days, and with deals available for under £1000 – why not see for yourself?
Not a particularly long route, as road trips go, but I have always imagined doing this trip in the summer months and taking my time at each town to enjoy the different localities and each towns surf – living out the back of a VW campervan, being a surf bum for a few weeks while the sun bronzes your skin and the sea leaves you with a salty after taste. Both French Aquitaine and the Spanish Basque area have rich cultures and beautiful landscapes, with sand and sea stretching as far as the eye can see and the Pyrenees’ mountain range that tower over the French, Spanish border. Of course, the cuisine in this area is world renowned, with fresh fish, local produce and tapas like there’s no tomorrow. Find the little treasure that is San Sebastian, a charming, picturesque town that is famous for many of their restaurants having been deemed Michelin starred; foodies – a right treat for you! While Moliets and Hossegor are small towns, they are home to the majority of the European surf crowd, don’t be put off by the little grommets that have clearly learnt to surf before they learnt to walk! This road trip is the perfect getaway for the beach bums trying to escape the dismal British ‘summer-time’!