Anytime you’re thinking about undertaking something with the word ‘ultimate’ in its title, you know you’re going to have to do a bit of planning. This is certainly true of embarking on the ‘ultimate’ summer road trip.

Whether you’ll be looking for car hire in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney or some other city on Australia’s sunny east coast, you’ll be wanting some ideas for what to do and see. Here are a few of the sights and drives we’d recommend you visit on your ultimate summer road trip!

Waterfall Way (NSW)

It’s not often that a road will snake its way through five different national parks, but that’s what you get with Waterfall Way. Beginning in Coffs Harbour and ending in Armidale, the road meanders through rainforests and woodlands, bringing those that drive it views of countless waterfalls (as the name suggests).

There are several walks to do along the way. A good example is the Wonga Walk, a 6.6km loop that darts between the 600-year-old trees that make up the forest. It features a suspension bridge that leads to a cavern behind the aptly named Crystal Shower Falls.


As previously mentioned, there are plenty of other waterfalls along the way – Dangar Falls, Ebor Falls, Wollomombi Falls, Casuarina Falls, Red Cedar Falls are all perfect subjects for snapping pictures on your phone.

Grand Pacific Drive (NSW)

Stretching from the south of Sydney all the way to Wollongong, the Grand Pacific Drive is 70km of ocean vistas, brilliant beaches and subtropical rainforests.

A particular highlight is Sea Cliff Bridge, a balanced cantilever bridge that snakes around the cliffs of the shore, the ocean crashing underneath. As well as a fantastic road, it’s also a neat spot to park up and watch whales as they migrate. You’ll be able to see as far as Sydney to the north and Wollongong and beyond to the south.

Great Green Way (Queensland)

At 450km long, the Great Green Way connects Townsville to Cairns through a cornucopia of tropical scenery. If you travel this road, you’ll be able to visit two world heritage sites – the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics of Queensland.

Not to be outdone by the fancier attractions on the route, the town of Tully built themselves a giant gold gumboot. This is both a tourist attraction and a mark of the competition they have with another town, Babinda, for the title of Australia’s wettest town.

Tully currently holds the Australian record for the most rainfall in a year – 7,898mm in 1950.

Great Ocean Road (Victoria)

This is not hyperbole – the Great Ocean Road might be one of the most scenic driving routes in the entire world. Starting in Torquay, the home of Australian surfing, and ending in Port Fairy, a quaint fishing village, there is a mind-boggling amount of stuff to see on this stretch of tarmac.

Flying over the Twelve Apostles in a helicopter featured in a recent article as one of the best adventure trips on Australia’s east coast, but there is so much more to see and do. Go bushwalking, mountain biking or surfing; visit heritage attractions and museums; see emus, koalas and kangaroos at Tower Hill; explore seaside villages and surf towns – the list could go on.

You can drive the entire road in a mere four hours, but you would be mad to. Breaking up the trip into several day chunks is definitely the way to go.

Alpine Way (NSW)

Nestled in the mountains of the Kosciuszko National Park, the Alpine Way is an 108km piece of driving heaven that connects the Snowy Mountains town of Jindabyne to Khancoban, near the Victorian border.

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It’s a road with a lot of historical significance. Aboriginal people used to travel this route to get to the high country, and was used in more recent times for the construction and maintenance of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme.

Most of the route is through a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and there are all manner of spots for fishing, mountain biking or walking along the way. To get through the national park part of the road, you’ll need a day pass, which will cost you $16 per vehicle. These can be purchased from local visitor centres, local agents and operating vehicle entry stations.

Summer road trips are a great way to spend a holiday. If you’re thinking of embarking on one of these awesome trips, get in touch with the team at East Coast Car Rentals. They can help you with a rental car that’ll get you where you want to go.