Ron and Viv Moon - The Full Story
Ron and Viv Moon have been part of the Australian 4WD landscape for, well, forever. Along the way they’ve travelled hundreds of thousands of kilometres across Australia and extensively overlanded across the globe. Apart from documenting their memories, they've made thousands of friends along the way. We recently caught up with Ron & Viv while they are traversing the USA.
We asked Ron how he became involved in the 4WD industry.
I’ve been editor-at-large for 4x4 Australia magazine for the last 20 years after spending 15 years as the magazine’s editor. Today, I’m more of a laid back, freelance-writer wishing to do more travel and less writing!
I started writing for 4x4 mags in about 1982 so that kinda makes it 40 years - or close! Before that I was in the Army teaching young soldiers how to drive Land Rovers and 6x6 trucks, amongst other things.
Viv and I got together in 1976 and we’ve travelled and written extensively since. In 1984 we wrote our first guidebook on Cape York and that was followed by a number of other guides to remote areas of Australia. We were writing for other guidebook publishers as well, including Lonely Planet. So with articles for mags, other guidebook publishers and our own guides we were pretty busy and travelling a lot. We have done that for over 30 years and while we sold our guidebook business to Hema Maps a few years ago, we now research and write most of their guidebooks. We also ran tours to remote areas of Australia and Africa for a few years between 2000 and 2011 and our son, Trent, now runs 4WD and surf and dive tours here in Australia and around the world under his Moon Tours banner (see: www.moontours.com.au). We join him on a few of those jaunts; it's a great way to see some fabulous country and to spend some time together! We also post our travels on facebook. https://www.facebook.com/MoonAdvPub
Where’s the remotest place you’ve been to?
In Australia? Some hidden waterholes in the vast western deserts of Australia, which required multiple days of cross-country travel where there were no tracks of any sorts. Those sorts of expeditions are difficult to organise and even harder to implement, but it’s what I love to do.
Overseas? Viv and I have been lucky enough to drive around the world over the course of five years or so and we got pretty remote during that time on a few occasions. Crossing the desert – the eastern edge of the Sahara, I guess - through the Sudan to Egypt took a few days and we saw fewer people there than anywhere else on our travels. One thing we learnt from that extensive journey is elsewhere in the world it is a pretty crowded place and it's bloody hard to get away from people.
What's the best trip you have ever done?
Ooooh, that’s difficult!
In Australia back in the 1990s, we did some tough and exciting expeditions. Probably the one that stands out today was when we followed the footsteps of the 1861 Jardine Expedition to Cape York. A lot of that was cross country on the western side of the Cape where there were no tracks but lots of big river crossings and swamps to get through. We had the grandson of Frank Jardine with us and a film crew from Channel 7 doing feeds back to the morning and evening news.
Overseas, it was driving across the Ice roads and the frozen Arctic Ocean to the small Inuit village of Tuktoyatuk in Canada’s Northwest Territories. It was cold and the driving was unique for an Aussie more used to sandy beaches and big red sandhills.
What has really changed how you travel?
The products these days we have at our disposal have been the game changer. GPS mapping, satellite phones and the like, good fridges for the food and the beer have made life a lot easier. And the vehicles and the great range of accessories we can fit to them and make them suitable for the sort of travel you want to do.
Favourite touring vehicle?
My old 4.2 GU Patrol has taken us around the world and across Australia on numerous trips so it’s hard to beat – and it’s even harder to replace! My Ram 2500 is my choice of vehicles for touring the Americas which is where we are at present!
What is one piece of advice you would like to pass on to the readers?
Make a plan AND set a date to leave! It doesn’t matter if it’s a weekend trip up into the Blue Mountains, a month trip to Cape York or a multi-year trip around Oz or the world. Set a date for when you want to leave and work towards that!
If you say, ‘I’ll do that one day’, you could well be dead before you get to do it!