Photo: Tourism Australia
If you are revved up by this weekend’s Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix and thinking of hitting the open road on your next holiday, you are not alone. Research from Booking.com, the global leader in connecting travellers with the widest choice of places to stay, has revealed that almost a third of people around the world took a road trip last year and are likely to take one this year. Here are some the world’s greatest road trips along with the best places to stay to start or end your journey on a high.
Great Ocean Road Melbourne, Australia
One of the most scenic coastal drives in the world is the Great Ocean Road route, with its scenery along the continent’s southern coastline. The route traces the shore between Geelong and Warrnambool, and you can expect cliff-hugging turns, seascapes to die for and lush rainforests in your rear view mirror. The 275km route starts in the surf capital of Torquay. Be sure to visit the natural beauty of Apollo Bay and the Great Otway National Park, where you can swap the wheels for a spot of walking.
Where to stay: Fun and affordable, the Melbourne Central YHA is the ideal pit-stop for travellers on a budget. Boasting a rooftop terrace and amazing views of the city centre, this trendy backpacker hostel is located in the heart of vibrant Melbourne and surrounded by street art, cafes and unique bars. There is a large communal area, shared kitchen and option of dormitories and private rooms.
Pacific Coast Highway California, Us
This legendary route is a “must”. The iconic California coast from San Francisco to San Diego, it is known for having some of the most scenic views in the world. Over 1,000km long, the route does not disappoint – expect stunning coastal views, picturesque seaside villages, untouched forests and wine vineyards along the way.
Where to stay: Discover the charm and elegance of France in the heart of San Francisco at the family-owned Cornell Hotel de France (above), located a short stroll from the vibrant Union Square.
It boasts a fusion of old-world charm and modern amenities – wake up to a full and free breakfast and admire prints of masterpieces from artists around the world.
Southern Scenic Route Queenstown, New Zealand
This route combines everything from deserted beaches, native forests and rolling hillsides to waterfalls, lakes and snow-covered peaks – there are breath-taking views around every corner. The 610km route starts at Queenstown, bringing you to Fiordland, Ta Anau, the iconic Milford Road and Dunedin.
Where to stay: Begin your road trip with a stay at the luxurious boutique Element Escapes Apartment (above), which is located a short walk away from the beach and a half-hour drive from Coronet Peak and The Remarkables ski parks.
Amalfi Coast Sorrento, Italy
Not for the faint-hearted, the route presents narrow winding roads along steep cliff tops, but passengers will be rewarded with views of rugged shorelines, pastel-coloured fishing villages, terraced vineyards and cliffside lemon groves. This 60km stretch of coastline between Sorrento and Salerno is hemmed by high mountains and offers idyllic waterfront boutique hotels and unspoilt coastal towns.
Where to stay: The exquisite Grand Hotel Royal (above) boasts a stunning beach-front location, lush gardens and scenic cliff-top views. Take a dip in the outdoor pool and admire views of the Gulf of Naples and Mount Vesuvius. In high season, guests enjoy free access to the beach and free use of parasols, sun beds and beach towels.
Overwater Highway Xingshan, China
If you are seeking scenic views without a long road trip, the Overwater Highway is your best option The 11.2km highway linking Xingshan County in Hubei to the high-speed route of G42 is built in the middle of the river and follows the natural curve of the valley. Even though this is the shortest route out of the recommendations, passengers will still be treated to breathtaking views of the valley and fishing villages.
Where to stay: The luxurious InterContinental Tangshan (above) is located in Wanda Square and looks out to the scenic Dazhao Park. Guests will love the indoor pool, fitness centre and spa treatments, and the famous South Lake and Tangshan Earthquake Museum are short drives away.
This article was first published at The New Paper.