samotor Magazine

We love SA

There’s no doubt South Australia is an incredible place to live and holiday. To celebrate RAA’s new holiday experiences, we’ve asked some South Aussies to list their favourite things about our spectacular state and their best holiday memories. 

Mark Ricciuto   |   Jane Reilly   |   Bruce McAvaney
Andrew Cosi Costello   |   Jay Weatherill   |   Hayley Pearson 
Maggie Beer   |   Brad Ebert



Mark Ricciuto

What do you love about SA?
I live living in South Australia. It’s where I’ve grown up and it’s like a big country town – it’s easy to get around everywhere, whether it be the Yorke Peninsula, the Riverland, or the wine regions. Everything is very accessible and a relatively short drive away. 

What’s your best memory of a holiday in South Australia?
The best holidays I’ve had have been on houseboats on the mighty Murray River.

I have many great memories of New Year’s Eves spent on the river cruising towards the historic Overland Corner Hotel with my mates, skiing, fishing and laughing over a few cold beers.

What’s your favourite holiday spot in SA and why?
I’ll get some brownie points with my wife Sarah and say the shack at Port Augusta! The narrow gulf is full of blue swimmer crabs and the occasional King George Whiting if you’re lucky.

It’s such an ideal setting with crystal clear blue water and the Flinders Ranges forming a picture-perfect backdrop. 

Where’s somewhere you haven’t been in SA but would love to go?
I haven’t explored the Coorong at all; I’d like to go down there and have a look around. I hear the fishing is great! I also want to head up north towards the Oodnadatta and Birdsville tracks and experience all the Red Centre has to offer. 

Jane Reilly

What do you love about SA?
There are two things that make our state very special. Firstly the people – no matter where you go, someone will have a chat. They will freely give you local advice, tell you about the best pub, cafe or restaurant. It often seems that we have a volunteer force of local tour guides, only too happy to share with you their grassroots knowledge.

Secondly, the weather! For most of the year we have perfect conditions to tour our fabulous state. In summer, head to the beach; come winter head to the Flinders Ranges.

As I write this, I’m holidaying in the stunning Clare Valley. While it might be on the cold scale today in Clare, we have been to some cosy wineries and enjoyed a stunning pasty in Burra.

What’s your best memory of a holiday in South Australia?
A few years back, when my boys where quite young, we went to a wedding at Bungaree Station just north of Clare.

We had the most memorable time. From the perfect setting for the wedding ceremony under a large oak tree, to Irish dancing in the woolshed, we often talk about what a fabulous time we had.

What’s your favourite holiday spot in SA and why?
Without a doubt it would have to be Kangaroo Island. Starting with the adventure of catching the ferry across Backstairs Passage, to swimming in the pristine fresh waters of Hog Bay, KI offers so much. And of course there is great seafood and wines to enjoy too.

Where’s somewhere you haven’t been in SA but would love to go?
Now this is a tough one because I have been fortunate to have seen so much of SA through my own travels and also the SA Variety Bash; but one thing I haven’t done is see the whales at Head of Bight.

Bruce McAvaney

What do you love about SA? 
I’ve lived interstate and spent a lot of time overseas and it just makes me appreciate South Australia all the more. We have changing seasons, clean air, clean water and incredible produce with clever, creative people making the most of it. We have space to breathe. It feels safe.

And on top of all of that, it’s where my family is. South Australia will always be home.

What’s your best memory of a holiday in South Australia?
A few years ago, we took our children to Arkaba Station, just north of Hawker in the Flinders Ranges. It’s an 1850s homestead without any of the discomforts of that era, in one of the most spectacular settings you can imagine.

We walked for miles and took four-wheel drives over the Ranges and had the benefit of expert information with the warmth of intimate hosted dinners.

What’s your favourite holiday spot in SA and why?
My grandfather worked building barrages on the Murray and we feel a special affinity with Goolwa and the Fleurieu Peninsula. Goolwa Beach is unique and there’s nothing better than watching the thoroughbreds pound the sand as they train in the early hours of the morning.

On the other side of that there’s the river and the rolling hills up towards Strathalbyn. Summer and winter, it’s the place where we escape and rejuvenate.

Where’s somewhere you haven’t been in SA but would love to go?
I’ve always looked in awe at photos of Kati Thanda – Lake Eyre – in flood, when the surface of the water is so flat it’s impossible to see where the lake ends and the sky begins. 

I’d love to have the time to drive through that entire northern region and appreciate it properly, stopping at William Creek and all the little towns along the way. 


Andrew Cosi Costello

What do you love about SA? 
SA flows through my veins; it’s in my blood. I’m very passionate about this state and have devoted my life to encouraging people to explore SA.

We have so much to offer and all so close. Within an hour from the CBD we have some of the world’s best wineries, amazing locations in the Adelaide Hills, and beaches that people in Europe would die for. We tend to take it for granted, but we really do live in an amazing place.

What’s your best memory of a holiday in South Australia?
Last year we took 25 mates in 4WDs and a bus to the Innamincka Races, in the state’s Far North. Our goal was to win the Innamincka Cup, so we brought our own racehorse for $1000. We came second in the cup in a photo finish and won the last race.

An amazing trip along the Cooper Creek and, best of all, with food, fuel, camping and the horse, it only cost $500 each for seven days away! And that included everything!

What’s your favourite holiday spot in SA and why?
We have so many… BUT I love a cheeky getaway in the Adelaide Hills. It’s only 25 minutes from my house – we book some accommodation and go out for dinner and walk the streets. It’s great.

Most people see the Hills as a day trip and they are SERIOUSLY MISSING OUT! To truly experience it you need to stay overnight. Do yourself a favour and book something in!

Where’s somewhere you haven’t been in SA but would love to go?
I’m lucky to have covered the state fairly well. I would love to spend time with the SA Aboriginal people in the APY Lands near the NT border. That’s something I’m looking into as we speak! I think we could all learn a lot from them. 

Jay Weatherill

What do you love about SA? 
For short holidays, there's no better place than SA. There's more diversity in easy reach of the city than any other place on the planet.

You can visit incredible wine-growing districts like the Barossa Valley, the Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale and Clare Valley, all very close to Adelaide. Then you’ve got the outback with the extraordinary ancient beauty of the Flinders. And then of course there is Kangaroo Island. All with such diverse experiences – there simply isn’t anything else like it.

What’s your best memory of a holiday in South Australia?
When I was growing up we didn’t have a lot of money to go away on holidays, but my fondest memory was going to Stansbury and fishing off the jetty with my father and trying to catch a few whiting.

What’s your favourite holiday spot in SA and why?
Port Elliott – I love going there at Christmas with my family. There is a fantastic caravan park and I love Horseshoe Bay, which is a magnificent beach for the kids. And of course I love the bakery.

Where’s somewhere you haven’t been in SA but would love to go?
Dalhousie Springs – on the fringe of the Simpson Desert, a fascinating and remote part of the world.

Hayley Pearson

What do you love about SA?
I love that I live in the foothills and it takes me five minutes and I’m walking up Chambers Gully or Waterfall Gully. In 20 minutes, I’m eating an ice cream at one of our beautiful beaches, and in just over an hour I’m wandering through incredible-looking vineyards in the Barossa.

We have everything here, and so many places to discover and explore. How lucky are we?!

What’s your best memory of a holiday in South Australia?
The Flinders Ranges are amazing. My parents are walk-a-holics and we used to stay in cabins and spend the days hiking through the most amazing countryside and then at night, we’d lay on the grass looking up at the Milky Way.

Every kid should see how amazing our stars are when you are away from the city lights.

What’s your favourite holiday spot in SA and why?
I think you tend to holiday where you went as a kid. I grew up having spent every school holidays at my grandparents’ house in Encounter Bay, so I have continued that tradition. We now hire a beach house at Victor at least twice a year and take our own kids down there.

Maggie Beer

What do you love about SA? 
The Barossa – hands down! With its history of early settlement by immigrants who brought their food with them and adapted it to the climate, we have a food culture today that is still firmly rooted in these original Silesian ideals and principles.

Moving to the Valley and being surrounded by ever-changing seasonal produce has always been my greatest inspiration. That, in turn, has allowed me to learn my craft by trial and error, and I’ve gone along from one idea to the next.

What’s your best memory of a holiday in South Australia?
One of my all-time favourite travel experiences was last February, in the height of summer in SA. Whilst the mainland sweltered, we revelled in about 28°C as the very privileged guests of Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island.

What’s your favourite holiday spot in SA and why?
Our beach house. Even in my quiet times or when we go on holidays, I have to go somewhere I can cook. Eating is just the outcome of working with wonderful produce. And wherever I am, that’s what I search for.



Brad Ebert

What do you love about SA?
I love that SA has so many amazing regions just outside Adelaide, including McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills and the Barossa Valley.

I love that it has some brilliant festivals all year round, and has a spectacular food and wine scene with great bars, restaurants and cafes. It also has such a diverse range of climates and scenery.

What’s your best memory of a holiday in South Australia?
Skiing and fishing at my uncle’s property in Loxton around Christmas time with all the family and friends.

What’s your favourite holiday spot in SA and why?
I love the McLaren Vale region and Fleurieu Peninsula. It has some of the best beaches you’ll find, including good surf, as well as a top wine region – and it’s only 45 minutes away from the city.

Where’s somewhere you haven’t been to in SA but would love to go?
I’d love to go to Kangaroo Island. Everyone that comes to SA seems to go there, but I’ve never made the trip myself.

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