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In Australia, State and territory governments restrict the movement of fruit within the country to control pests. A government website says:

Ti Tree Fruit Fly Exclusion Zone (FFEZ)

The Ti Tree Fruit Fly Exclusion Zone extends from Tennant Creek to Alice Springs. Do not take fruit (including capsicum, chilli, tomato, eggplant, cucumber, zucchini and squash) into this zone.

Repeated web searches for more information keep returning this exact sentence. A handful of sites point out that all fruit (eg bananas and oranges) are included as well as the "botanical fruit" listed above. What nobody points out is the border of this zone.

If I buy bananas or oranges at an ordinary Alice Springs supermarket (where I assure you, they are for sale), can I take them to Tennant Creek? Will I pass a disposal bin and sign between the two, or is Alice Springs inside the zone, making it ok to continue on with my fruit?

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The actual exclusion zone consists of a series of "accredited production places". These places are listed in a Northern Territory Government Gazette notice dated 16 January 2008.

The places are described as individual land holdings and so are not very helpful to travellers. They appear to describe individual farms and vineyards. For example, one of the places, called Limestone Bore, is described as follows:

All that parcel of land in the Deep Well locality in the Northern Territory of Australia containing an area of 100 hectares more or less being Northern Territory Portion 3909 and being more particularly delineated on Survey Plan S90/74A lodged with the Surveyor-General, Darwin.

You can get a map of Survey Plan S90/74A by going to http://www.ntlis.nt.gov.au/hpa-services/surveyplans?planname=S90/74A

Will I pass a disposal bin?

The Northern Territory Plant Quarantine Manual suggests that there are bins available to dispose of plant material:

It is advised that travellers plan their travel arrangements to reach state borders with minimal quarantine risk material. If in doubt about conditions, travellers may also surrender fruit and other plant material into quarantine bins provided at the Darwin, Katherine and Alice Springs Railway Terminals, at Darwin International and Domestic Airport, Katherine Airport, Gove Airport, Alice Springs Airport, and at Kulgera, Aileron and Ti Tree Roadhouses, or dispose of the materials prior to entry into the Northern Territory.

If I buy bananas or oranges at an ordinary Alice Springs supermarket, can I take them to Tennant Creek?

The Plant Health Regulations provide some exemptions for properly packaged fruit passing through (and not being unloaded at) accredited production places. However, you should ask supermarket staff at Alice Springs to make sure.

  • There were bins at the airport, but not on the road north of Alice Springs – Kate Gregory Oct 25 '18 at 23:19
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There's a map of the various quarantine zones on the Australian Interstate Quarantine site. Zoom in to Alice Springs and you'll find that Route 87 north to Tennent's Creek is highlighted, with Ti Tree about halfway along. The highlighted section appears to start just north of Alice Springs, so I imagine that your bananas will be frowned upon going north.

  • it's a cool map, but the zone appears only to be a line, and it sort of looks like it should follow the highway, but diverges if you zoom too much. – Kate Gregory Oct 21 '18 at 6:08
  • I agree it's not a great map but it's 200km from Alice Springs to Ti Tree, and I can see no roads that join route 87 north of the Route 12 junction. If the edge of the zone is at the route 12 junction there's no way into that area south of Tennents Creek 500km to the North. Given the distances involved it would make sense to keep Alice Springs outside the quarantine zone. With no other access into the area Route 87 is definition enough. – user79658 Oct 21 '18 at 8:03
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About 90 minutes north of Alice Springs (but after stopping at the height of land, the tropic of Capricorn, and a giant swathe of termite mounds, so perhaps only an hour if you drove at the 130 km/hr limit) we saw this sign (there had been some warnings before that, reminding us to Eat Fruit Now):

enter image description here

There were no bins, no place even to pull off.

I did not notice where the zone ended.

  • Wow, now there's an answer! I'm picturing you driving along getting increasingly panicked as you stuffed yourselves with fruit approaching the zone—"now! now! we have to eat all the fruit now!" – Zach Lipton Oct 25 '18 at 23:32
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    I'm guessing in a deserted place like this it would be perfectly fine to simply throw out the fruit on the ground. Given Australia's climate it should be rot away in a few days. – JonathanReez Oct 26 '18 at 6:05

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