Top Ten Road Journeys

In choosing my world Top Ten Road Journeys for Seniors, I’m avoiding dirt track roads and ones that are very difficult to drive – I’ll leave those to the celebrities (accompanied by a host of film crew) in the ‘World’s Most Dangerous Roads’ TV series.

Near Queenstown, NZ South Island Route
Near Queenstown, NZ South Island Route

However one Senior at least does appear to thrive on more strenuous routes, as you can read about in my review of William Croft’s Old Trails and Frontiers – Driving the American Southwest.

I have chosen some of the journeys because of the spectacular scenery along the way, others because of interesting places to visit near to the routes. Some are long, some are short, but all are ones that I have very much enjoyed driving and all have good, reasonably priced hotels and restaurants along the way.

My Top Ten Road Journeys in order by continent, with approximate distance and suggested time required, are:

  • Newcastle to Edinburgh, England/Scotland (150 miles, 1-2 days). Castles to visit and great coastal scenery. Check tides before visiting Lindisfarne or get marooned.
  • Rings of Beara and Kerry, Ireland (200 miles, 2-3 days). Wild, untamed mountains and coastline, but avoid the busy tourist season and expect some rain.
  • Danube Four Capitals Route, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary and Serbia (500 miles, 5-6 days). Although there are some scenic parts, the journey’s interest mainly comes from places visited along the way, including: Vienna, Bratislava, Ezstergom, Szentendre, Budapest, Mohacs, Novi Sad and Belgrade.
  • Amalfi Coast, Italy (50 miles, 1 day). Originally built by the Romans, the road from Sorrento to Amalfi clings to the side of the coastal cliffs giving panoramic views down to the Tyrrhenian Sea. Avoid the summer season and weekends as the road gets choked with cars and scooters!
  • Garden Route, South Africa (150 miles, 3-4 days). A rich stretch of vegetation between mountains and the Indian Ocean coast, with the unique fynbos flora.

    Novi Sad in Serbia on the Danube Route
    Novi Sad in Serbia on the Danube Route
  • San Francisco to Los Angeles, USA (450 miles, 2 days). Surprisingly well-conserved coastline with hardly a Mcdonalds in view.
  • Florida East Coast, USA (500 miles, 4-5 days). Much to see along the way including the old colonial city of St Augustine and Cape Kennedy Space Centre, before the 110 mile Overseas Highway takes you across a chain of bridges and islands to Key West.
  • Great Ocean Road, Australia (300 miles, 3 days). My extended version starts in Mount Gambier, with its blue lake, before heading to the coast at Portland and continuing as far as the Queenscliff to Sorrento ferry.
  • Wellington to Auckland, North Island, New Zealand (450 miles, 3 days). Following the West coast, then inland to ‘Lord of the Rings’ country, volcanoes and thermal areas.
  • Te Anau to Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (750 miles, 5-6 days). Divert initially to Milford Sound, before heading through spectacular lakes and scenery on the way to the West Coast via Queenstown. Finish with a Sauvignon Blanc in Marlborough!

For each of these I’ll provide more details in future posts.

Road journeys that I’ve enjoyed, but have not quite made it into my Top Ten include: the Antrim Coast Road, Northern Ireland; Route 66 (or what remains of it), USA; Riviera Road from Italy through into France; the Snowy Mountain circuit, Australia; Loch Lomond and Trossachs; Scotland; and Java West to East, Indonesia.

Before setting off, please check my Transport Tips first with advice on, for example, car hire, and then sit back, relax and enjoy some really great journeys!