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The Most Exciting Drives from Around the World
We bring you the greatest road trips from across the world.
1. ULTIMATE OUTBACK ADVENTURE
Stuart Highway, Australia
Stretching from Port Augustus on the south coast to Darwin on the north coast, via Alice Springs in the centre, the 1,716-mile Stuart Highway is one of the world’s longest unbroken roads.
For sheer drama you can’t beat the northern half of the Highway, crossing the Tropic of Capricorn and passing through the Martian-like landscape of the outback. The iconic Uluru (formerly Ayers Rock) is just a short detour from the route. As you emerge from the parched ochre-coloured outback, the gum trees give way to lush tropical forest.
Home of the gigantic Roadtrain – trucks towing up to four trailers and weighing anything between 100 and 200 tons – the Stuart Highway is a great motoring adventure.
2. THE PERFECT ROAD
Jebel Hafeet, United Arab Emirates
Abu Dhabi is a long way to travel for just 7.3 miles of road, but if any stretch of tarmac is worth the effort then it’s the Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road. Located on the border between the United Arab Emirates of Abu Dhabi and Oman, this immaculate feat of engineering is like a Gran Turismo track brought to life.
With three lanes of perfectly surfaced road (two climbing, one descending) and brilliantly illuminated at night, the sinuous, sweeping 21-turn road climbs to the 1,219m summit, a luxury hotel and a royal palace.
Jebel Hafeet is surreal and magnificent in equal measure.
3. ANGELS AND SPEED DEMONS
Los Angeles to Bonneville Salt Flats, USA
The drive from California’s City of Angels to Utah’s home of speed is one of extremes. At 800 miles, it’s a journey best broken into two halves. The first section joins Los Angeles to the neon delights of Las Vegas, via the awesomely inhospitable Death Valley.
It then crosses the vast wide-open vistas of Nevada’s Great Basin (home of Area 51) to the dazzling white salt flats of Bonneville. Covering more than 30,000 acres, the salt flats are one of the natural wonders of the world. Since the 1930s the fastest men on Earth have skimmed across Bonneville’s sacred salt in various World Land Speed Record attempts.
The Salt Flats are open to the public, so you too can drive on this unique surface.
4. PARADISE FOUND
The Garden Route, South Africa
The Garden Route is one of the world’s great coastal drives. Strictly speaking, the route itself begins 120 miles or so east of Cape Town, but if you drive from the capital you’ll pass through South Africa’s famous wine-producing region. The route itself extends for a further 125 miles, from Mossel Bay to the mouth of the Storms River. This remarkable journey takes you through a wilderness blessed with everything from pristine white sandy beaches, gentle mountains, tranquil woodland, cool secluded rivers and spectacular views of the Indian Ocean.