What's your next adventure - a drive through dramatic landscapes or a meander with moments of self-reflection? Our experts help you decide.
By Mal Chenu
Unless you have unlimited time (which none of us do) and are unaffected by arthritic knees (which is fewer and fewer of us), driving beats hiking when it comes to travel. Show me a happy hiker and I'll show you a crazy person. Why do you think the "Val-deri, Val-dera" chorus in The Happy Wanderer song ends with maniacal laughter?
Wanderers - happy or maniacal - like to say they are stop-and-smell-the-roses types. But while they're sniffing around the one, single location, they're missing out on the next beach, waterfall, lake, village, tavern, patisserie, museum, castle, cathedral or cave with ancient rock art, because these things are too far from the roses to reach by shanks's pony.
"Hey, there's a stunning lookout not too far from here. Shall we drive up and see it before we have lunch at that cute trattoria, or do you want to hike there, arrive at sundown, make camp and open a tin of baked beans to go with our stale focaccia?"
And even if you're hiking between hotels, it's still much nicer to enjoy a cocktail and a leisurely dinner than to arrive after dark exhausted and sore, and crash into bed after dragging your sorry butt (and knapsack) around all day, possibly in the wind and rain. (That is, after you've treated your blisters and sunburn, and removed the insects and leeches that have been grazing on your fleshy plains.) I mean, what do you want to get on Route 66 - kicks or ticks?
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Life is a highway and the world is filled with amazing road trips. Google Maps has made navigating as good as the olden days when your partner used to tell you how to drive and what turn you missed.
In Australia, you can do the Cape to Cape Walk in Margaret River or the Twelve Apostles Signature Walk on the Great Ocean Road in about four days. If you drive instead, you'll have time to lounge at the beach, nose around the towns, enjoy a long lunch at a boutique winery (and pick up a few bottles for home) and still have three more days to see and do other cool stuff.
In the time it takes to hike a single mountain trail overseas, you could drive the Icefields Parkway through the Canadian Rockies, cruise the Grossglockner High Alpine Road in Austria, or car-climb 2000 metres from Marrakech up through the High Atlas Mountains and back down to Ouarzazate on Morocco's Atlas Mountain Road.
On four wheels, you can tackle the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland, Milford Road in New Zealand, Chapman's Peak Drive near Cape Town in South Africa, Strada Statale 163 along the Amalfi Coast in Italy, Ruta 40 through the Andes in Argentina, and Route 1 in Iceland past the fjords, villages, hot springs, glaciers, lakes and waterfalls.
On two feet, not so much. Of anything. Except blisters.
By Amy Cooper
My kind of highway is the one winding skywards from Lukla through Namche Bazaar in Nepal's Khumbu region. The traffic's hectic. I've been stuck in a yak jam, delayed by a donkey train and overtaken by speeding Sherpas. And although the punishing ascents sometimes make you crave an engine and full set of gears, the greatest joy of this journey is its complete absence of motorised anything.
There's no vehicle access on the busy trail all the way to Everest Base Camp. Supplies travel between villages aboard animal and human, across hair-raising suspension bridges over towering gorges and along nail-biting narrow paths flanking steep drops. Under your own steam you drink in every magnificent detail, from rhododendron forests and Buddhist stupas to the distant snow-capped crowns of mountain royalty: Lhotse, Ama Dablam, Everest. The powerful energy demands your full attention. You can only feel it with your feet on the ground, not the accelerator.
There's a reason why pilgrims walk. It's elemental, grounding, a sacred communion with place. People have epiphanies when they tread a trail, not while they're overtaking a truck at 110kmh. As The PiIgrimage author Paulo Coelho said after his transformational trek on the Camino de Santiago: "Moving slowly enables us to learn faster." You'll smell the roses, the coffee, the street food, the ocean spray and the damp earth after rain. You'll see cracks in statues, reflections in ponds, bees in blossoms; follow a smell, a hunch, a melody. You can let your senses lead the way.
The Camino's network of pilgrim trails through Spain and its neighbours are drive-able, but why would you when you can move as Coelho did, "neither faster nor slower than your own soul", losing yourself in market towns, meadows, beech forests, medieval churches and wine country, bonding as you go with people from everywhere? Cars keep us apart, but walking forges friendships, whether they last for a moment or a mile. Another delight of the walking way - you can meditate or mingle.
You'll smell the roses, the coffee, the street food, the ocean spray and the damp earth after rain.
Ditch the motor and you'll venture deeper than you could ever drive into cultures made for pausing, not passing: Japan's Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route, following in footsteps (not tyre tracks) of samurai and emperors on thousand-year-old trails, and noticing small wonders, like the bark on an ancient cedar worn smooth over centuries by the hands of passing pilgrims. The Via Francigena, from Orvieto to Rome via a feast of regional cuisines. Hawaiian island Kauai's emerald Jurassic Park dreamscape, 90 per cent inaccessible by road. These routes are made for walking.
If you travel to connect, look no further than the transport nature gave you. You'll be amazed how far your feet can take you. And if you do grow weary, don't worry - there's a yak for that.