Pakenham couple “stuck” in NT

John Pedri in Tennant Creek, Northern Territory. Photo: SUPPLIED.

A caravanning Pakenham couple feel they are stuck in the Northern Territory after finding out they have been granted only 24 hours to travel through South Australia to get home.

A condition on the travel permit that John and Linda Pedri received to pass through South Australia, a listed red zone, requires them make the journey in under 24 hours or less.

But John and Linda, who are in their 70s, say it would be “utterly and physically impossible” for them to make the 1400km trip in that amount of time.

“It’s irresponsible and dangerous of the government telling Victorians to drive really long distances in such a short time to get home,” John said.

“This not only endangers the driver and the passengers but all other drivers on the road.”

A self-professed “retired geriatric”, John said it would be dangerous for them to push that hard to make it across.

“If you’ve ever towed a van, 1400km in a day is bloody insane,” John said,

“You couldn’t do it. You’d be struggling to do it in a car, let alone a van.”

John and Linda left on their Australian holiday in May and were in Darwin when the most recent lockdown was announced.

“We thought we better get home,” John said.

“We thought we can’t go through Queensland because that means we’d have to go through New South Wales and that being a basket case, thought we should give it a miss.”

So, the couple headed south towards the Northern Territory and South Australian border.

“When we left Darwin, South Australia was a green zone, so we thought we’d scoot into South Australia and to the Victorian border,” John said.

But they got as far as Tennant Creek when South Australia became a red zone.

“On the way down, Dan Andrews decided no Victorians were allowed home,” John said.

“The bottom line is we’re kind of stuck.

“It’s fine if it’s only another day or two, it’s not the end of the world, but with Covid you don’t know what is happening. You could be jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.”

John said they had always planned to get home the first week of August.

“A week or two later isn’t a big burden for us, but it could be a big burden to some people- not everyone has an unlimited budget to travel,” he said.

“I’m not overly complaining, it’s a beautiful day here but you can’t stay here forever.

“I just think whoever made the rules up for 24 hours is silly.”

John said with caravanning, the only reason they would have to interact with the South Australian public would be to get fuel.

“We could just stop for fuel. We could bring enough food with us and we have a toilet and beds in the caravan so we wouldn’t need to stop at a rest stop,” John said.

“We’d have limited contact with the South Australians.

“We might wave to them as we go past- that’s as close as we’d get to them.”