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  • Product spotlight

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    tasmania, geoff murray, tent

    Review: The New Moondance 2FN Tent by Geoff Murray

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    Product spotlight

    "Last week I received a new tent from Mont, the full nylon version of the Moondance II. This tent has had a number of updates, the most obvious one being that the inner is now full nylon rather than mesh making it more suitable for use in less clement and colder weather. It also has a longer centre ridge pole and cross pole giving more internal room as well as now being symmetrical so pitching is simplified. It was very good to pitch before but is even easier now.The poles are also redesigned so that connecting the poles to the tent is simpler. All in all a really nice tent to use.
    So overall it has a bit more space inside and still only weighs a fraction over 2kgs.

    Moondance 2FN Lemongrass Tent in Walls of Jerusalem National Park, Tasmania by Geoff Murray

    I walked up to one of my favourite Tasmanian highland areas and found a spot for the tent. Conditions were cool but the walking was much easier than my previous trip to this location a month or two ago when the snow was a metre deep.

    Moondance 2FN Lemongrass Tent in Walls of Jerusalem National Park, Tasmania by Geoff Murray

    Towards evening the temperature started dropping so that by the time I was cooking my dinner it was a bit below zero degrees. Through most of the night it hovered around -3 but at some stage it took a dive and my little temperature sensor hanging off a tent guy outside shivered its way down to -8 :) I didn’t notice the temperature nicely snuggled into my Spindrift sleeping bag.
    In the morning it was good to see minimal condensation in the tent. It has some nicely placed ventilation points that seem to work really well.

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    I was awake at 4.45 and shortly after I was walking across to a suitable vantage point for sunrise. Conditions were clear and cold and the grass and bushes were white with frost. After finding a couple of images there I worked my way up through a stand of Pencil Pines to a south facing cliff that still harboured a mini frozen waterfall. After a couple of hours I wandered back to my tent to cook breakfast and have a snooze before packing up and walking out.

    The location was sensational, the weather perfect and the tent performed superbly.

    Gear used Mojo shorts, Odyssey jacket, Icicle jacket, Slinx top, Spindrift XL sleeping bag and Moondance II FN tent."

    By adventure photographer and Mont Ambassador Geoff Murray

    Moondance 2FN Lemongrass Tent in Walls of Jerusalem National Park, Tasmania by Geoff Murray

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  • Expeditions & Adventures

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    moondance 2 tent, tarkine, camping, tasmania, geoff murray

    Geoff Murray: Rupert Point in Tasmania

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    Expeditions & Adventures

    I have for a long time intended to visit Rupert Point in Tasmania's west coast Tarkine. I finally managed to organise driving up to Corinna, board the majestic old Arcadia II and chug the 17kms down to Pieman Heads where the skipper took me across to the northern side of the river in an inflatable dinghy.

    Pieman River, Tasmania

    I had been warned that water would be scarce and that proved to be the case. Setting up camp a couple of kilometres north of the river I had to return to a fisherman's shack at Pieman Heads and fill my water bag from the tank. The rest of the day was spent lying in my tent with the doors tied back to escape the incredibly persistent March flies that were present by the score. Fortunately my Mont Moondance II tent has excellent ventilation and allowed me to keep semi cool in the 30+ degree heat.

    Rupert Point in Tasmania

    Rupert Point in Tasmania

    Come late afternoon I packed my camera gear and wandered the couple of kilometres up to Rupert Point. This was the first time I had visited this place so I had one evening and one morning to find good viewpoints. Fortunately the light was kind to me and I found a couple of nice spots to photograph. I have seen quite a few shots of Rupert and most photographers seem to take the same image but I was keen on finding something new. The March flies hadn't gone yet so I resorted to wearing my waterproofs, Mont Latitude trousers and a Mont Lightspeed jacket so I could concentrate on taking photographs and ignore the flies. Hot, but successful :) Eventually, the March flies went. Then the mosquitoes arrived....

    Rupert Point in Tasmania

    Rupert Point in Tasmania

    I was back at my tent at 9.20pm, quickly grabbed a bit of food then hopped into my tent to escape the mosquitoes. It rained a little overnight and conditions were really nice the next morning so I walked back to Rupert Point and found another couple of nice images. Then it was back to the tent, pack everything up and walk back to Pieman Heads to wait to be picked up by the Arcadia's skipper for the return to Corinna.

    Overall, a brilliant 2 days on the west coast.

    Rupert Point in Tasmania

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  • Expeditions & Adventures

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    walls of jerusalem, tasmania, geoff murray, bushwalking

    Walls of Jerusalem, Tasmania. By Geoff Murray

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    Expeditions & Adventures

    Tucked away in Tasmania’s Central Highlands is a jewel. Compact, photogenically outstanding and an easy place to travel, it is The the Walls of Jerusalem National Park. I have visited The Walls many times over the years, and in all seasons.

    I saw my coldest Tasmanian temperature here one chilly Winter’s night, -13ºC. But the next day was sensational; Deep, firm snow, a crystal clear atmosphere and scenery that filled the soul with joy.

    I decided it was time to pay another visit. Packing all of the necessary items into my Mont Backcountry pack (plus a few luxuries) I left home early one morning for the 4 hour drive to the Walls carpark.

    The carpark is deep within the Mersey Valley, at the end of a rough, dusty road. Isolated, you would say. I turned into the carpark, and was greeted with 24, yes 24 cars! This island and its superb bushwalking is becoming more popular.

    Anyway, hoist the pack on and up the hill. The ground alongside the track was dry, bone dry. Creeks that never fail, dry. Tassie is in the midst of a desperately dry period, clear testament to the awful effects of climate change.

    A couple of hours later, I was in the Walls, a superb amphitheatre of mountains with a scattering of alpine tarns within. Bright green cushion plants sat in between the Scoparia. Alpine grasses made walking easy and I made good time across to the far side. Finding a quiet spot for my tent, I set up camp. I had brought my Mont Epoch tent with me, a mountain tent as tough as they come, and a genuine pleasure to use. I value it very highly.

    Mont Epoch Tent in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park Tasmania

    Time for a wander through this alpine wonderland. Up over Damascus Gate, a quick scamper up onto The Temple for a superb view, then a slow walk down through the ancient Pencil Pine forest in the general direction of Dixon’s Kingdom Hut. Some of the pines here are over 1,000 years old, craggy and ancient, beautiful and haunting and they watched silently as I walked amongst them. Like walking through a living cathedral.

    macro photo of flower in Tasmania

    A quick yarn to some walkers camped at the Hut then it was time to return to my tent for a meal and a deep sleep.

    Up at 4am the next morning to allow time to walk across to the Pool of Siloam for sunrise. The silence was absolute, the stillness complete as I arrived at the Pool. I waited for the light to grow, the sun’s rays slowly fingering down the mountainsides as the day was born.

    lake at walls of jerusalem

    Images appeared before me, to be captured through the lens. A good start to the day. The rest of the day was spent almost aimlessly wandering around, searching for images that please.

    Late afternoon and back at the tent, a meal, then sleep. A simple existence in the wild.

    The third day was the last. Time to go back to civilisation but recharged and refreshed.

    I packed up, and tramped off in the direction of the carpark. Another good trip.

    Geoff Murray

    December 2015

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  • Expeditions & Adventures

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    overland track, tasmania, geoff murray, bushwalking

    The Overland Track, Tasmania. By Geoff Murray

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    Expeditions & Adventures

    A couple of months ago my wife told me she wanted to walk through Tassie’s Overland Track. She last walked through 6 years ago with her brother but wanted us to walk it together. I hadn’t walked that trip for something like 18 years so I was curious to see what it would be like.

    Liking our solitude, we resolved to camp away from the huts, something that was ok’d by Parks staff, just as long as we were discrete and did the right thing.

    Loading our gear into our packs, we tried to keep the weight to a reasonable level while at the same time remaining comfortable. I was going to use a new Mont Backcountry pack, a serious 85 litre canvas pack suitable for the toughest trips while Lyn had her well used Mont Escape pack. I was carrying 27kgs, Lyn had 15kgs. My pack was a bit heavier than most due to my photographic equipment.

    Our first day was a short one walking, but a long day overall as we first had to drive for 4 hours from our home to the track start. We left Ronny Creek and headed up the main track. The packs felt good and so did life!

    Goeff Murray on the Overland track 2015

    After negotiating Marion’s Lookout (and helping a couple of lost Asian tourists find the way down) we worked our way across the face of Cradle Mountain to find a campsite on Cradle Cirque in the late afternoon sun. There was a cool breeze as I set up our new Mont Moondance 2 tent. This is a superbly compact and light tent for 2 people, quick to erect and as usual for Mont, full of innovative ideas in its construction.

    A mist descended over the mountaintops in the evening and we watched as a well spread out group of four weary trekkers trudged slowly past in the gloom. We slipped into our tent and were soon warm and cosy in our sleeping bags.

    The next day dawned fine and cool and we quickly packed up and dropped down to Waterfall Valley hut where we met one of the track rangers. After yarning for a while we moved on in the gathering heat towards Windermere Hut. The scenery was brilliant, towering dolerite mountains reaching up into a blue sky dotted with fine weather cumulus clouds. We had a great view of Lake Windermere from a lookout before continuing south and reaching Windermere hut in the mid afternoon.

    Cumulo nimbus clouds above the overland track, tasmania. by Geoff Murray

    On the way Lyn had a snooze on a rock while I wandered around finding some superb red barked Tasmanian snowgums to photograph.

    The new Overland track huts are a far cry from what was there when I last walked through, veritable mansions easily able to cater for the 34 independent walkers allowed through each day but still built sensitively so that they assimilate into their environment. Sometimes compromises need to be made to cater for larger numbers of people and it has been well done.

    After having dinner at Windermere hut, we packed up and walked for another two hours as the sun eased towards the horizon, finally setting up camp in the forest near the Forth Valley Lookout.

    After listening to a couple of possums having a real ding dong and another creature that had a call like a running zip (no kidding) we entered the world of slumber. Cosy again ☺

    Our next day was normally one of the longest days on the track but we had shortened it nicely to an easy 14kms. The day was hot and we walked a little slower in the shady forested sections, savouring the relative coolness out of the sun.

    Our campsite this time was next to the Old Pelion Hut. This hut is no longer allowed to be slept in by walkers due to its heritage value but it was pretty handy when a thunderstorm rolled in and the heavens opened. It was crowded in the tiny hut with at least another 6 or 7 walkers sheltering from the downpour.

    After the storm had rolled through the air was vibrant and cool.

    The next morning was magic! Mist floated ethereally over the hills and through the valleys as the sun weakly filtered through. The dew clung to the grasses, saturating my boots and gaitors as I wandered around looking for “the image”. A great start to the day.

    mist on the Overland Track, Tasmania, by Geoff Murray

    A day that involved a long slow trudge up to Pelion Gap, at 1126metres, one of the highest points on the track. A platform has been built at the top of the climb, with an unusual sign warning bushwalkers that the local Currawongs (birds) have worked out how to undo pack zips. And in fact we even heard of a fastex buckle being undone!

    The descent was much easier and it wasn’t long before we came to Kia Ora hut. Dinner again and we move a little way down track to find a tent site. This was our 4th night and we only expected to spend one more night in our Moondance tent before heading home.

    Mont Moondance 2 tent and hut on the Overland Track, Tasmania, by Geoff Murray

    The fifth day was the hottest day of the trip, reaching somewhere around 27 degrees in the mid afternoon, no fun when you are carrying a pack. We arrived at the new, very impressive Burt Nichols hut which had been built to replace the much smaller Windy Ridge hut. Dinner again and onwards. This time it was a little difficult to find a tent site offtrack and being late, we ended up pitching our tent right on the track. No-one came past so it was no problem.

    old hut on the overland track, tasmania. By Geoff Murray

    The final day we only had 6 kilometres to walk then it was “Narcissuss Hut to Ferry base, come in please” over the radio and we had our boat ride to Cynthia bay and civilisation organised.

    The boat trip is a great way to finish the trip, zooming down Lake St Clair looking back at the mountains we had threaded our way through and feeling just a little chuffed at the fact that this pair of “oldies” (60 years for one and a little less for the other) had easily traversed this stunning wilderness.

    A trip well worth doing, made all the easier with superb equipment.

    Geoff Murray

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