Driving around the world is not something you just wake up one morning thinking you’ll give a go. It’s neither a cheap nor an easy feat when you factor in shipping your car from continent to continent, registrations/carnets, insurances and navigating hundreds of thousands of kilometres.
So why are we taking on such a challenge?
We are travel addicts and know from experience that a lot of the world’s most beautiful locations and stunning scenery is not accessible by just jumping on a plane. If we make our own way by car it means we’ll have the freedom to do whatever and go wherever we want, meet locals and stay longer in one place if we feel like it – PLUS we can save money by sleeping and cooking inside the car.
The following 10 exquisite destinations are just some of the stunning places that inspired us to drive the world and we have no doubt they’ll make this journey unforgettable.
1. Atacama Desert, Chile
El Desierto de Atacama is the driest non-polar desert in the world, covering a 1,000-kilometre plateau of land near the Andes in Chile. We’ve seen countless photos of rugged snow capped mountains jutting up from flat, salt lakes and bright blue, thermal ponds steaming from volcanic activity underneath. It’s remoteness and ruggedness adds to the desert’s beauty and we can’t wait to visit it for ourselves.
2. Tulum, Mexico
This ancient Mayan City sits on the edge of 12 metre high cliffs that fall down into the tropical, Caribbean sea at its feet. You don’t get that in many places.
Tulum was one of the last cities in Mexico inhabited and built by the Maya before the Spanish invasion. It still stands tall today and is waiting for us to explore it!
3. Cherry Blossoms – Okinawa, Japan
Hanami is the Japanese culture of flower and cherry or plum blossom viewing in Spring. Okinawa is famous for its Cherry Blossom Festival and amazing pink-petaled tree lined streets that look and feel surreal. This phenomenon only happens in the months of March to May, so if you’re planning on visiting Japan sometime soon, we highly recommend you go in Spring to experience the utter beauty of Hanami.
4. Geiranger Fjord, Norway
This is one of the most stunning Fjords in the world. A Fjord is a long, narrow inlet usually with steep sides or cliffs, created by glacial erosion. Geiranger is host to several impressive, foaming waterfalls that plunge into the inlet from jagged peaks. The Fjord is so beautiful it was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.
5. Havasu Falls – Arizona, USA
This impressive waterfall is actually found in the Grand Canyon. It’s main chute drops over 90 feet from a vertical cliff into a large, turquoise pool. Due to the high mineral content of the water, the configuration of the falls is ever-changing and its colour an intrigue.
6. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
One of the oldest national parks in Southeast Europe and the largest national park in Croatia, this area was added to the UNESCO World Heritage register for its stunning beauty and abundance of unique flora and fauna.
The national park is world famous for its 16 lakes that are arranged in cascades and renowned for their distinctive colours that range from azure to green, grey or blue. Their colours change constantly depending on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight.
7. Machu Pichu – Peru
This is an obvious one that has had limitless exposure in travel media and is the most visited tourist attraction in South America. Yes, it is already well known to the world however, the 2 day trek along the Inca trail to reach Machu Pichu, combined with the incredible mystery as to how the ancient city was built on such an isolated and high mounting makes this place extremely unique, special and worth a visit.
8. Fish River Canyon, Namibia
This is the second largest canyon in the world, only beaten by the Grand Canyon in size. A gigantic ravine splits the dry earth in-two and runs about 160 km long and up to 27 km wide in some places. The canyon drops an impressive 550 meters deep and puts on an incredible golden show at sunset.
9. Hạ Long Bay, Vietnam
This unique bay in the North of Vietnam is home to thousands of dense clusters of monolithic islands each topped with thick jungle vegetation, rising spectacularly from the ocean. Several of the islands are hollow, with enormous caves and tropical lakes at their centres.
We can’t wait to explore the surprises and natural beauty of this area by boat while stopping at some local floating villages along the way.
10. Karijini National Park – Western Australia
This large area of untouched and distinctive outback just north of the Tropic of Capricorn is an unspoiled nature-based wonderland. It’s famous for a unique and diverse landscape of dramatic creeks, spectacular gorges and towering sheer sided chasms up to 100 metres deep.
Millions of years of time are displayed in multi-coloured layers in the rocks, while red kangaroos, echidnas, goannas and other Australian animals are easily spotted and admirable.