On 4×4 in Iceland with the December winner

Carly Moon-Warnick & her husband driving around Iceland

The winner of the Great Auk December competition is Carly Moon-Warnick and her husband who rented a 4×4 to see the sights in Iceland. Congratulations for taking so many good shots and winning the competition. We took the opportunity and asked Carly a few questions:

For how long had you planned your trip to Iceland and who where on the trip with you?

    My husband and I had started planning our trip a few months before for our anniversary.
Renting a 4x4 in Iceland Free rental car Iceland Winter driving in Iceland

Tell us the route you chose to drive and how did you come down to exactly that trip?

    To be honest, we didn’t plan any part of the trip other than what we wanted to see. We didn’t even book anything prior to arriving other than our flights, our first night’s lodging, our rental car, and an ice cave tour in Skaftafell.  We had read about Route 1, but it wasn’t until we picked up the rental car that the
    guy assisting us with that confirmed that Route 1 was the way to go. He took the time to point out must-see’s along the route (dettifoss, gullfoss, etc). We made it our mission to drive all the way around route 1, with our only detour being up into Thingvellir Park.

Why Iceland and why in December when the driving can be quite tricky?

    Traveling to Iceland was always the number one thing on my bucket list. It was the perfect vacation for us because it was quiet and showed us everything from mountains to beaches, glaciers to waterfalls, volcanoes to geysers, and anything else we could have possibly imagined. Plus, my husband loves
    the outdoors, so I knew that it would be the perfect vacation spot for us.  We decided to go in the winter for two reasons: It was our anniversary and we also like to travel in off-peak times so we can enjoy the sights without hoards of tourists. It felt as though we had most of the country to ourselves, which made
    the trip even more peaceful. We also both come from towns and cities that are used to a lot of snow and ice, so we knew that with a good SUV we’d be able to handle just about anything.
Roundtrip of Iceland Cheap rental car Iceland Roads of Iceland

It‘s obvious you spent some time editing the video of your Iceland trip, did you get the idea immediately to do a video or was that something that was born during the trip?

    We decided to do the video because my husband and I love taking pictures (we took over 1,000!), and I knew that choosing one picture to represent our trip to Iceland would be impossible.  It took a little while to put together, but we couldn’t stop watching it once it was done. It’s a lot of our favorite photos all
    in one place!

When you initially was handed over the Great Auk, what was your response?

    When we received Puffy (our great auk) we were excited! We spend a lot of our drive time plotting out different shots that we could try with him. It also challenged us to think about neat shots aside from the typical “point and shoot” stuff.  Puffy still travels with me in my car just in case another photo-op ever
    pops up again!
Winter in Reykjavik Icecaves in Iceland drive the Golden Circle

Did you know about the Great Auk competition before you booked your car?

    We did not! I saw the poster in the office when we were filling out paperwork, and I even asked how much the Great Auk was! I was willing to buy it so we could participate!

Tell us about the best part of the trip.

    It’s so hard to pick the best part of the trip.  The variety of landscapes was awe-inspiring, because it felt like you were in a completely new environment every twenty minutes. We also loved the freedom that Iceland gives you and how clean everything is.

Was there anything on the trip around Iceland you din‘t like too much?

    We can’t think of anything that we didn’t like. Even with rainy, misty weather that we saw most days, there wasn’t really much to complain about in Iceland.
The Great Auk Competition 4x4 rental Iceland

Was there anything that you were surprised to discover here?

    The hot dogs! Gas station hot dogs were my favorite food we so unexpectedly delicious! Also, the fact that there’s so much to see and do, but that Iceland isn’t touristy at all.  There are road signs to point you in the directions of landmarks and areas, but you won’t see big billboards everywhere you turn
    all over the country. Iceland has a very understated beauty to it.

If you could do the trip all over again, what would you do differently?

    When we return to Iceland, we’re going to focus on one area of the country so we can spend more time exploring, hiking, and camping.

What advise do you have for people coming here to drive around Iceland?

    Don’t plan it out too much! We made up the trip as we went, deciding where we wanted to spend more time and what spots we could stop and see quickly before moving on.  Also, don’t be afraid to try all of the Iceland gas station snacks. It’s not a real road trip without snacks, and Iceland has some crazy
Thanks again for your video and great shots. We are happy you enjoyed your stay here in Iceland.
Now we are getting to the end of January so a new winner will be announced soon. As always, it’s so hard to chose a winner for we get such brilliant shots from all of you. Thank you all and make sure you follow the blog to see who will be the winner for January.
What to do in Iceland
Carly Moon-Warnick