2016 is a leap year, containing that rare February 29th which occurs only once every 48 months. This auspicious occasion fast approaching got us thinking about those trips you take just once in your life, rare but amazing journeys which you’ll remember forever.
Like that extra February day, opportunities to embark on an unforgettable road trip don’t come around often - but AirportRentals.com
exists to help make them happen! Here are our global top picks for once-in-a-lifetime road trips. We’ve focused on the southern hemisphere, as Leap Day in that part of the world is in late summer - the perfect time to hit the road.
Driving from Adelaide in South Australia to Darwin
in the Northern Territory is a journey of epic proportions, and allows a peek at Australia
’s awe-inspiring outback. The Stuart Highway is the main road which stretches between the two cities, straight up the middle of the country and through a landscape which is completely unique to the point of being alien.
The mighty outback is juxtaposed with stylish Sydney
surf beaches as one of the quintessential images of Australia - red, dry and flat, with amazing formations like Uluru (Ayers Rock
) rising up to catch the sunsets, and friendly small towns with wooden pubs and down-to-earth locals. You’ll find all this and more on a legendary Stuart Highway road trip!
Pick up an Adelaide Airport car hire
and head north to Port Augusta and beyond, where the highway awaits. With nearly 40 hours of driving, you can make the trip in a week, or stretch it out to two. Much of the enjoyment is in the driving itself and the views from the road, so it’s no problem to cover long distances - however, some places are worth stopping for a day.
Before reaching Alice Springs
, turn off and take the detour to visit Uluru and the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. It’s a few hours away from the main road but well worth it for the incredible photo opportunities and the amazing cultural heritage tied to these formations. Take a pitstop in “The Alice” to enjoy a bit of civilisation for a day or two, then carry on. We can’t tell you what to do on this trip - it’s all in the small details, the friendly communities, the scenic hidden gems that you discover for yourself.
2 . Natural Splendour: Queenstown Road Trip
’s natural beauty is fabled, and it doesn’t get more spectacular than the area around Queenstown. You can customise and tweak this loose itinerary as much as you like - just fit in the main sights and you will come away awestruck, guaranteed.
Pick up a rental car from Queenstown Airport
and you’re well on your way. Queenstown itself is a fantastic way to begin the road trip, a charming resort town where the dining and entertainment scenes pump during all seasons. It also has a reputation as the “Adventure Capital of the World,” and in the surrounding area you can flood your system with adrenaline in multiple ways - jumping off bridges and from aircraft, hurtling down rivers in various vessels and plenty more.
Taking to the road from Queenstown, the beautiful South Island is your oyster. The map below prescribes a loop which includes most of the highlights, but it’s really a pick-your-path adventure. The glaciers on the wild west coast are a fantastic place to explore, and the drive back east over Arthur’s Pass offers amazing alpine scenery. A call in to visit the spirited Christchurch makes a nice city break, and Dunedin in the far south is another urban hotspot. Don't miss Tekapo, Wanaka and Te Anau, more stunning lakeside towns.
The gem in the crown of the South Island’s scenery is Fiordland National Park. Make the drive to Milford Sound and get on a boat or a helicopter to take in the magnificent drowned valleys, plunging cliffs, towering peaks and tumbling waterfalls. This is the picture-postcard stuff people come to New Zealand for!
When planning your once-in-a-lifetime Queenstown road trip, there’s one thing you must remember above all: a camera!
3 . Self-drive Safari
A car rental in South Africa
can be an overwhelming prospect - where to start and which direction to take? The country remains a bit of an enigma for the uninitiated, so we have come up with a suggestion that will go down in your personal history books as one of your most epic and unforgettable road trips - a safari journey in Kruger National Park.
You can safari your way simply by picking up a rental car from the airport in Johannesburg
and making the day’s drive to the national park. Having your own vehicle to explore there is allowed and encouraged, and it’s one of the few places in the world you can get a real safari experience that’s entirely in your control - itinerary, pace and schedule.
There are conservation fees to pay when using the park - these can be paid in advance or upon arrival at the park, and it is recommended to book accommodation before travelling. Luxury lodges are available as well as camps with huts, bungalows, cottages and safari tents. Around the edges of the park are various gates, Phalaborwa being the most direct point of entry when arriving from Johannesburg.
What can you do once you’re in? There are a range of suggested self-drive itineraries available on the internet, along with all kinds of advice for when and where to see the most wildlife. Visitors often see lions, giraffes, elephants, antelopes, hippos, rhinos, leopards, buffalo and much more. The park also has extensive birdlife and some spectacular flora, including the Baobab trees. It has some spectacular scenery too, with rivers winding their way through the grasslands, hills and greenery.
An African safari is an amazing experience - and a self-directed one even more so! Kruger National Park is a unique opportunity to experience this, and should you do it, the road trip will be remembered as one of the defining ones even amongst a lifetime of travels.
Do these amazing and rare journeys tickle your fancy this leap year? AirportRentals.com can help you out with these and many more self-drive adventures.