With the longest coastline in the world (by far), the second largest landmass and more lakes than the rest of the world combined, simply put, Canada is big. It will come as no surprise then, that one of the best ways to get to know this friendly giant is on a fly-drive trip over winding mountain passes and along jagged coastlines.
Canada's mountain roads
Perhaps follow the 19th century Klondike Gold Rush north to the Yukon where moose, elk and grizzly bears wander frozen mountains and glacial valleys. Continuing Canada’s bid for superlatives, it’s home to the country’s five tallest mountains and the largest sub-Arctic ice fields. An estimated 100,000 prospectors once flocked to its craggy peaks but today its alpine roads lead travellers to scenic hiking trails and wildlife hides. Follow the Top of the World Highway, driving through scenic backcountry, or climb the Haines Highway to windswept Chilkat Pass, an ancient aboriginal route home to convocations of bald eagles.
Canada's coastal drives
For stunning coastal drives look no further than the Canadian Maritimes, comprising the country’s peninsular, Atlantic huddle of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. Its Lighthouse Route brings travellers to picturesque fishing villages while the Kejimkujik Scenic Drive is a must for national park hiking and remote canoeing. With scenery unchanged since the 17th century, the famed Cabot Trail, widely regarded as one of the most spectacular drives in all of Canada, is much the same as when it greeted the Acadian pioneers.
Discover Canada's wildlife by car
Canadian road trips also provide great access to its indigenous wildlife population. From Québec, drive out to Saguenay Fjord where finback, minke, beluga and even the mighty blue whale – the world’s largest mammal – can all be spotted. Alternatively, Vancouver Island’s Pacific Rim Highway rewards travellers with an abundance of black bears, sea lions and humpback whales.