Victorian grey nomads left in state of uncertainty

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Grey nomads ready for the road
Phil and Lorraine have got their fingers crossed ... and they’re ready to roll.

While hopes are still high that state and territory borders will start to re-open in the next few weeks, the spike in Covid-19 cases in Victoria has cast a bit of a shadow over Australia’s virus-fighting success.

Of course, no one is watching the situation more closely than those grey nomads based in the Garden State.

Phil and Lorraine Gracey, who live about an hour outside of Melbourne, are keeping their fingers crossed and consoling themselves with the fact there are some stunning spots not so very far from home.

“The latest spike in Victorian Covid cases is a real disappointment,” said Phil. “I think we may have to stay in Victoria for a while but there are some wonderful places here … and we will keep on dreaming of the Queensland sunshine.”

The couple bought a 20-year-old 21’ Evernew caravan when they retired 12 months ago and tow it with a 2003 Prado. They were just getting into the swing of the vanning lifestyle when the pandemic struck.

“Just before the lockdown we did a trip to western Victoria and onto South Australia and the Yorke Peninsula,” said Phil. “We love visiting small towns and we try to avoid the larger cities … Lorraine enjoys looking at country Op shops and farmers’ markets and I enjoy the museums.”

Before the virus put the handbrake on tourism, Phil remembers the country towns they visited as ‘vibrant places’ with busy shopping strips.

“The locals were very friendly and helpful,” he said. “We were accepted as part of the grey nomad community in the towns, and we enjoyed many friendly chats with local people and had the occasional beer with them.”

When the lockdown forced Phil and Lorraine to put their van into storage, they felt sure their planned half lap of Australia via Queensland and the Northern Territory was a non-starter for 2020. While that still may not happen, the couple admit they were pleasantly surprised when the Victorian Government announced a few weeks ago that camping was allowed again.

They wasted no time in planning a short trip along the silo art trail despite some concerns that ‘local communities might not be happy to see caravans back in town so soon’.

The Graceys found it to be an ‘unusual trip’ with caravan parks manned by skeleton staff and a lot of uncertainty about social distancing rules.

“The park owners were relieved to see some caravans back and a couple of them said that the shutdown had pushed them to the wall,” said Phil. “I was struck by how quiet the smaller towns were, and a lot of shops were closed with little traffic in the main streets.”

He said they received a mixed reception from people in the shops, with some very welcoming but a few others just keen to get them out the door. “The bigger towns along the Murray River were busy and tourist operators were getting back in the swing of things,” said Phil. “I was amazed by the number of caravans we saw along the Murray … and it certainly looked like things were getting back to normal.”

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One Response to Victorian grey nomads left in state of uncertainty

  1. Will Victorian residents be allowed into Queensland after July 10 if they have out of Victoria for more than 14 days in say NSW?.
    Will they be able to fill out a declaration at the Qld border and be alloewd access?

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