The Garden Route on the N2 runs along the southern coast of South Africa from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. Most of the 750 kilometre long route is actually inland and passes through a unique sanctuary with verdant green and colourful nature. Along the way, you pass towering mountains, rough coasts, almost endless beaches and lagoons. There are also a number of safaris that you can take to watch wild animals. You should plan at least 10 days for your trip so that you have time to discover the incredible Tsitsikamma coastal forest near Plettenberg Bay, try out Blackwater tubing on the Storms River or go surfing at Jeffrey’s Bay. More adventurous travellers can also jump from the 200 metre high Bloukrans Bridge – one of the world’s highest bungee jumping bridges.
If you are looking to travel through virgin forests and an almost untouched hill country, the Forgotten World Highway in New Zealand is a good option. The 155 kilometre long Highway 43 runs between Stratford and Taumarunui. Along the way you pass through Whangamomona, the world’s smallest republic, and the plunging depths of the Tangarakau Gorge. At 150 vehicles per day, there is almost no traffic, making the green hills and valleys even more enjoyable. 11 kilometres of the route is gravel rather than sealed road. You should plan roughly three hours for the trip. Along the way, we recommend taking a side trip to the 85 metre high Mount Damper Falls.
The 243 kilometre long Great Ocean Road is another highlight and winds along the southern coast of Australia. It is one of the most beautiful coastal roads in the world and was included in the Australian National Heritage List in 2011. The B100 runs past forbidding steep cliffs and along fine sandy beaches. There are numerous opportunities for surfing or hiking. The Great Otway National Park is halfway along the route. Here you can discover both bright eucalyptus forests and dark, dense rainforest. We recommend a side trip along the Otway Lighthouse route where you can encounter wild koalas. Planning five days to travel the Great Ocean Road is recommended.
The Road to Hana is regarded as Maui’s most beautiful panoramic road and runs from Kahului to Hana. On the two-lane routes 36 and 360 you cross 54 bridges and roughly 600 hairpin corners. The route is 103 kilometres long and takes two hours. Yet we recommend spending the night at the halfway point which offers numerous waterfalls, beaches and botanical gardens. Because the route is very famous and popular among tourists, it is worthwhile travelling the Road to Hana on a weekday and very early in the morning.
Route 237 between Shimukappu and Biei on Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s four main islands, runs through an ocean of flowers. The route takes you past the Taisetsu Mountains and the Tokachi Mountains and offers a view of vast flower nurseries, some of them spanning more than 15 hectares. The panoramic lavender fields are especially famous and bloom in July. Depending on the season, poppies, sage, sunflowers and cosmos may also be in full bloom. The route itself is less than 100 kilometres long but it passes innumerable flower nurseries, making “garden hopping” a must.