These 5 road trips that every backpacker should do at least once in their life, will take you through some of the most fascinating and extreme landscapes in the world. Whether you do several of them or just one, there is something we can assure you: it will be a trip you will never forget. Hollywood made Route 66 the ultimate synonym for road trips, romanticizing long days of travel with stops at roadside canteens, listening to Bob Dylan, dancing in country music halls, and sleeping in motels.
All the trite things that the United States cinema repeated to make this route the most famous in the world, which in fact in many sections was abandoned since the arrival of the highways. But since the world does not start in Chicago and end in Los Angeles, we suggest these 10 road trips that every backpacker should do at least once in their life.
If you are thinking of traveling some of these routes or spending time in the countries that we will name below, do not forget that you can volunteer and exchange your skills for accommodation and food thanks to the Worldpackers platform that has volunteers all over the world.
Great Ocean Road, Australia
Australia’s most famous route has its world status for the fantastic coastal scenery it runs through, especially when you reach the cliff from where you can see the Twelve Apostles rock formation. In addition, it is one of the best areas in the country to have a natural encounter with shy koalas. For this, we recommend that you leave the asphalt for a while to do the Kennett River Koala Walk or the Gray River Road and spend a night in Bimbi Park, a campsite under eucalyptus trees full of koalas.
The total journey of the Great Ocean Road is 243 kilometers through the southeast of the State of Victoria, from Torquay to Allansford, but many do it as a day trip choosing only the section that passes through The Twelve Apostles.
Crossing the Australian Red Center
While Australia is known for its beaches, most of this huge island is covered in desert, or, as the Aussies call it, the Red Center. Crossing the Australian desert from coast to coast is a long and exhausting journey but without a doubt a unique experience that will lead you to better understand the immensity of this country. Get ready for hundreds of kilometers with nothing but red earth, kangaroos that will cross your path, isolated villages where you will meet the true aboriginal culture, flies -many flies-, gasoline prices that you never imagined, and the recalcitrant sun as a companion of the route.
The complete path will take you from Adelaide (south) to Darwin (north), in a total journey of more than three thousand kilometers, passing through the imposing Uluru (rock with great spiritual importance for the aborigines of the area); the geological formations of Kata Tjuta; Alice Springs, the “capital” of the desert; and Coober Pedy, where much of the population lives in houses underground to protect themselves from the intense heat.
Route 40, Argentina
Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world, and traveling from south to north means being part of an adventure of more than 5000 kilometers, from the forests, glaciers, and the violent wind of Patagonia to the landscape of adobe houses, llamas, cactus, and colored hills of the northwestern provinces.
National Route 40 is an epic journey not only for Argentines but for cyclists, motorcyclists, and campers from around the world. Leaving from the south, “La 40” officially begins in Cabo Vírgenes, bordering the Andes Mountains and passing places like El Calafate, El Bolsón, Bariloche and Cafayate on the way, until reaching La Quiaca, on the border with Bolivia. . For other travelers, this journey is part of the great American journey that goes from Ushuaia to Alaska.
Carretera Austral, Chile
If you want to get to know Chilean Patagonia in-depth, there is nothing better than cheering up on the 1,200 kilometers of the intense Carretera Austral. And by this, we mean that you do not think that this trip is a weekend walk to clear up, but that it has its difficulties. Most of the route is unpaved, there are paths that are blocked by snowfall, turbulent rivers, and areas of abundant rain, but these complications mean that you will be among the purest and most wild nature.
Garden Route, South Africa
If the southern coast of Australia has the Great Ocean Road, South Africa is not far behind with its Garden Route. There are only 200 kilometers that this route travels, starting in Mossel Bay to the west to Storms River to the east, but loaded with natural beauty that will make the journey you could do in a few hours surely take you several more with stops at the way to take photos, take a bath on the beach or just stop to enjoy the scenery.