As the crossroads of Australia and the gateway to the Flinders Ranges, roughly 360,000 people visit Port Augusta every year.
Some are here for business and others are visiting friends or family, but just over a half of those 360,000 people are tourists.
With so much traffic passing through annually, Port Augusta should be feeling the economic benefits of tourism in the region.
Unfortunately, most people only stop briefly to recharge their batteries.
The beauty of Port Augusta is not lost on South Australian tourism advocate, Andrew ‘Cosi’ Costello.
After visiting the city on numerous occasions, Cosi has grown to love the area and all it has to offer.
“Port Augusta is one of those places — a bit like Port Wakefield — where people are guilty of driving through them,” Cosi said.
“Ages ago I was invited by the Mayor, Sam, to come up and have a bit of a stickybeak and we did that. We ended up doing some filming there as well and then I guess I had my eyes opened to how much cool stuff there is around Port Augusta.”
With over 250,000 South Australians following his daily movements on social media and tuning into South Aussie with Cosi, he’s not a bad person to have onside.
His most recent visit on November 6 had him singing the praises of the view from his balcony at the Majestic Oasis Apartments.
“I like how you are so close to the Flinders and you’re so close to the ocean. There are so many parts there where you can sit and go ‘Wow! I can see the Flinders Ranges yet I’m also staring at the ocean’,” he said.
“I love my horse racing, so the Port Augusta cup is really, really good and we went and filmed that as well.
“The history behind the Port Augusta races is really deep and has been going for ages, so I love everything about that – the dirt track races.”
Mentioning the Arid Land’s, Redbanks and the Eastside Foreshore among his favourite places in Port Augusta, Cosi wasn’t shy of compliments.
With the average stay in Port Augusta just two nights, the travel guru had a few tips on how to get the average up.
“The big push with SA Tourism at the moment is road trips and road trip holidays are one of the best holidays you can do,” Cosi explained.
“The best part about road tripping holidays is when you are stopping, getting out and having a look at places and that is what Port Augusta has to offer.”
With a high percentage of people stopping to grab petrol or a snack and then pushing on to their next destination, Cosi suggests having tourism information outlets at those places.
“It would be great to have some visitor information boards at the service stations while people are filling up – even on the bowsers,” he said
“Somehow you need to get in front of those people and say ‘Hey come on into town for lunch or go on out and look at this place, or consider staying the night’.
“The more tourists that stop in Port Augusta, the more jobs that are created there, so it’s a huge opportunity.”