Coastal fjords of the Austral Road
One of the Lake District’s most rewarding circuits begins with a short drive towards Puerto Montt to join the northern extreme of the famous Austral road as it hugs the shore, passing small coastal communities backed by rolling green hills. It’s a side of the lake district rarely seen by visitors, and seemingly forgotten by modern civilisation.
Passing oyster nets strung up on the lakeshore, you’ll board a local ferry to the edge of Reloncavi fjord, straddled by the conical peak of a volcano. From here, driving along the fjord offers a classic journey through off-the-beaten-track Chile: the winding road in this remote and peaceful backwater remains unpaved and shrouded in greenery as you enter Alerce Andino National Park. Picturesque villages en route include Cochamó, a tiny town dwarfed by its larger-than-life natural setting.
Looping back round past outstanding panoramas of Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes, you’ll return to Puerto Varas via the mirrored expanse of Lake Llanquihue.