Biography & True Story Books:


Backcountry adventuring in Aotearoa New Zealand
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Paperback / softback
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Customer reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars Based on 2 Customer Ratings

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"Truly inspiring"
5 stars"

One of the best (if not the best) books to come out on NZ’s back country. Hazel has expertly woven her own story against the background of these amazing places and stories of their own. It’s a truly inspiring read not just for women, but for every adventurer everywhere.

"Great until page 89"
2 stars"

I cannot fathom why Hazel has mentioned the BMI scale in the chapter about her weight. The BMI has never been an accurate measure of health and fitness. This book is meant to give courage to women to get outdoors but happily reading along to be stumped by the use of a scale which invokes immense pressure upon women especially has saddened my expectations of this book. I understand this is her story and respect the journey she is on but referencing her weight on the scale I suspect will be truly detrimental to many readers.


One afternoon, journalist Hazel Phillips decided to close her laptop and head for the hills. She then spent the next three years living in mountain huts and tramping alone for days at a time, all the while holding down a full-time job. As she ranged from Arthur's Pass and the Kaimanawa Forest Park to the Ruahine Range and Fiordland, she had her share of danger and loneliness, but she also grew in confidence and backcountry knowledge. Her story of this solo life is an absorbing blend of adventure and humour, combined with her research into tales from the past of ambition and death in the mountains. She also casts a feminist eye over the challenges women climbers and explorers faced. Full of pluck, courage and resourcefulness, this book is for all those who long to breathe the mountain air and hear the call of the kea.

Author Biography:

Hazel Phillips is a writer and communications professional who has worked for a variety of media, from the National Business Review (where she learned how to read a balance sheet) to CLEO magazine (where she learned how to use a hair straightener to iron a skirt). She has written two previous books: Sell! Tall tales from the legends of New Zealand advertising, a popular history of the advertising industry; and Wild Westie, a biography of Sir Bob Harvey. She is always working on a new book, even if it's just inside her own head. Hazel holds a BA(Hons) in French and an MA in media studies. In her spare time she enjoys multi-day tramping, skiing, ski touring, mountaineering, scuba diving, motorbiking, and sitting on the couch with a good book when it all gets too much.
Release date NZ
June 9th, 2022
  • General (US: Trade)
Country of Publication
New Zealand
Massey University Press
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