10 of the Most Inspiring Contemporary Female Adventurers


Journalist Nellie Bly jumped off the page at me as I was researching Victorian female travellers.

The more I got to know her, the more I was intrigued by this fearless character who wouldn’t take no for an answer. Her crusades in print brought reforms in women’s asylums, orphanages, sweatshops and prisons.

The story that brought Bly the most acclaim was circling the globe in 72 days in 1890, beating the fictitious record in Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days. One hundred and twenty five years later, I followed in her footsteps.

We both travelled alone with one small bag. She went by ocean liner and train. I flew. She journeyed through the Victorian age. I travelled through the information age, blogging along the way. Tracing Bly’s race around the planet expanded my own world of adventure, and I became a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. The UK and Ireland have produced many bold female travellers. My goal is to put them “on the map” as role models encouraging us to travel out of our comfort zones.

Anna McNuff

Just start; that’s the best way to get going on an adventure, according to Anna McNuff who urges people to leave their fears at home and get outside. She would know. In 2013, she cycled seven months and 11,000 miles on a pink bike taking in every state in the US. Last year she ran 1,911 miles along New Zealand’s Te Araroa trail. McNuff calls them her mega-adventures, but she’s also a fan of mini-adventures, such as running along Hadrian’s Wall, rollerblading 100 miles around Amsterdam, and midweek camping escapades around London. She recently walked out of her back gate with a bivvy bag, backpack, and an open European itinerary to be decided by votes from her followers on social media. McNuff is also on a mission to get children outdoors and exploring. Through her endurance challenges, she’s raised awareness, as well as more than £20,000 for the charities Right to Play and The Outward Bound Trust. “I’m inspired by people who dive so deep into their personal well of self-belief that they achieve things which most would deem impossible,” she says.

Justine Gosling

Gosling is a time traveller: she fuses all the things she loves best – history, exercise and inspiring stories – into momentous challenges that reignite the past. She had never been on an expedition when she set off in August 2015 to travel 5,000 miles on foot and bicycle along the 15 countries bordering the iron curtain separating western Europe from the former Soviet Union. Postwar history came alive for her, an NHS physiotherapist, who was four-years-old when the Berlin Wall came down. Gosling will be closer to home, but further back in history, with a 240-mile Tudor-themed run from Bosworth Field, site of the last battle of the War of the Roses, to Westminster Abbey, final resting place of Elizabeth I. She’ll be running 12-15 miles a day over two weeks (she started 26 March) – and she wants you to join her along the way. Follow the route on Justine’s blog.

Belinda Kirk

Kirk’s quest is to get people to live more adventurously. She has walked across Nicaragua, searched for camels in China’s Taklamakan desert, so-called Desert of Death, discovered rock paintings in Lesotho and was skipper of the first female crew to row non-stop around Britain, in a punishing 2,101-mile, 51-day voyage. An expert expedition leader, she has managed remote trips for outdoor survival gurus Ray Mears and Bear Grylls. She launched Explorers Connect, a social enterprise connecting people to adventures in the UK and overseas in 2009. It’s now a community of 25,000 from total beginners to experienced explorers who can link up with adventures, team-mates and adventure industry jobs. Currently, she’s establishing Britain’s first national day of adventure, Wild Night Out, to help disadvantaged kids get outdoors. “I’ve seen adventure change people’s lives, by giving inspiration and building confidence, creativity and a reconnection with nature,” she says.

Hannah Engelkamp

Engelkamp trekked 1,000 miles around the circumference of Wales with a headstrong donkey named Chico. The pair walked for nearly six months in 2013 starting and ending in Engelkamp’s hometown of Aberystwyth. Although the inspiration for her journey came from the fact that Wales had recently become the first country in the world encircled by a continuous footpath, she discovered, a little too late, that her donkey couldn’t manage the 964 stiles and 783 kissing gates ahead of them. With no set course and no itinerary, they travelled as close to the coast and borders as they could; mainly wild camping, and sometimes sleeping in tipis, yurts and hay barns. Engelkamp embarked on a dream and returned with a plan to capture the journey in a book and film through crowdfunding. Eight hundred and twenty nine backers pledged £35,000 to make it happen. Seaside Donkey recounts the story of Hannah and Chico’s odyssey in print and DVD. Engelkamp says: “Walking with a donkey was only strange by being about 60 years late. We were walking on green lanes and drove roads made for animal traffic – get out of your car and that history is still there, and easily revived.”

Jacki Hill-Murphy

Former English and drama teacher Hill-Murphy has travelled to inhospitable places to recreate the journeys of daring female adventurers from the past. In tracking four valiant women who left inhibition at home and headed into the unknown, she pays tribute to their spirit and achievements. She has followed in the footsteps of Victorian explorers Isabella Bird, who travelled by yak across the Digar-La Pass in Ladakh, India, and Mary Kingsley – who pioneered the route to the summit of the volcano Mount Cameroon; and also Kate Marsden, who trudged from Moscow to Siberia in search of a cure for leprosy (a doctor had tipped her off about the curative properties of a herb there). Hill-Murphy also braved piranha-infested waters in a canoe to replicate the 1769 expedition of Isabel Godin, the only survivor of a 42-person, 3,000-mile expedition along the Amazon. Hill-Murphy’s travels and those of her heroines come to life in her recent book Adventuresses. She’s now writing a biography of Kate Marsden.

Karen Darke

A fall on a rock-climbing expedition in 1992 almost changed everything for Karen Darke. She thought she would rather be dead than paralysed; that her adventures were over. But with friends, creativity and perseverance, she has found that most things are possible, including becoming a Paralympics silver medallist and an irrepressible traveller. Among other astonishing feats, she has crossed Greenland’s ice cap sitting on skis, using her arms to propel her; kayaked from Canada to Alaska over three months, and handcycled over the Himalayas. She denies being an adrenalin junkie, but admits to an addiction to the outdoors. Now she’s on the Road to Rio, training with the British paracycling team for the 2016 Paralympics in Brazil. Along the way, she’s squeezing in adventures on wheels, water and snow. Darke is the author of If You Fall … and Boundless: An adventure beyond limits. She explains: “I think adventures can be anything – small or large – in your garden or on the other side of the world. It’s all about entering into the unknown and doing something that seems to some degree unachievable.”

Sarah Outen

Outen set out from Tower Bridge in April 2011 on her global expedition London2London via the World. Her body was her only engine. Four and a half years and 25,000 miles later she had rowed, cycled and kayaked her way around the northern hemisphere. Nothing stopped her; not even hurricanes, typhoons or loneliness. Outen’s first major expedition was a solo row across the Indian Ocean in 2009, where she set records as the first woman and youngest person to accomplish such a feat. She has captured her epic expeditions in the books A Dip in the Ocean: Rowing Solo Across the Indian Ocean, and Dare to Do – chronicling her world journey and due out in November 2016. She was named Adventurer of the Year at the National Adventure Awards on 16 March in Glasgow.

Sarah Williams

She’s a runner, skydiver, bungee jumper, climber, cyclist and world traveller … and a former banker. In 2013 she swapped the rat race for marathons and other gruelling challenges and is currently training for the world’s toughest footrace, the 200-mile Marathon des Sables across the Sahara. Now an adventure aficionado, Williams’ new vocation is to motivate and inspire women and girls to challenge themselves. She’s the founder and host of the Tough Girl podcast, weekly interviews where female adventurers share their journeys first-hand. From gold medallists to grandmothers, Williams’ podcasts include celebrated polar explorers Ann Daniels and Felicity Aston, and dozens of other female adventurers.

Emma Timmis

Timmis is a runner, cyclist and climber, she was honoured in the 2015 National Adventure Awards for physical endeavour. At 32, she’s already tackled some of the world’s toughest challenges, but takes it all in her stride. Last May, Timmis discarded her running shoes and rollerskated across the Netherlands in seven days with her friend Emily Pitts. Thanks to couchsurfing and imaginative budgeting, they only spent £245 each – proving that adventures can be created on a shoestring.

And one travel great who spans the 20th and 21st centuries …

Dervla Murphy

A travel legend, Murphy has always blazed her own trails. Now in her 80s, she continues to journey around the world as she has for more than five decades – usually alone and mostly on a bicycle. She is Ireland’s most prolific travel writer and is best known for her 1965 book Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle. Another 20 titles have followed, most recently Between River and Sea: Encounters in Israel and Palestine (2015). She travels with the bare minimum, counting on the hospitality of local people. Her daughter Rachel and three grand-daughters live in Italy and join Murphy on her journeys when possible. The documentary Who is Dervla Murphy? is released on 23 April. “Choose your country, use guidebooks to identify the areas most frequented by foreigners – and then go in the opposite direction,” says Murphy.

Author: Rosemary J Brown

Article Source: The Guardian

In The Pursuit of Happiness

Now and then it’s good to pause in the pursuit of happiness to just be happy.

Go get out there sista.

Senka x







What’s Your Fav Trail in the Redwoods?

I can’t come to Rotorua for a ride and not hit up Eagle vs Shark.

Fast. Flowy. Fun.

What’s your fav trail in the Redwoods?

Go get out there sista.

Senka x


Off The Beaten Track With Lake Ohau Quarters

Exploring… one of my fav things to do.

Whether it’s on a bike or via the waiwai express (that’s kiwi slag for walk) there something rad about going somewhere new.

There’s a sense of wonder that inspires to wanna see more of what’s out there in our beautiful country.

NZ I’m your biggest fan ❤️.

If you ever make it to Lake Ohau, be sure to stay at Lake Ohau Quarters.

It’s one super cool place run by one super cool outdoor babe Mel.

And say hi from me!

Go get out there sista.

Senka x



[VIDEO] Insiders guide to the new Woodhill MTB Trails

So you’ve heard (or have you) there’s a new network of trails at Woodhill and there just gagging for you to ride them!

SubstandardFullSizeRenderYip there’s a brand new 6km loop of ol’ school XC style trails in the brand new block at Auckland Woodhill Mountian Bike Park.

If you have ridden Woodhill for as long as I have, then hitting this new block will take you back to the days of the old network.  The team have done an epic job and getting in some fun stuff along this terrain, so grab ya bike and head on out!

Check out the video to see exactly where these trails are, or hit up the team at Woodhill when you go out.

#1 Sunday Drive | Grade 2 | 3kms

There’s nothing really tricky about this trail, but it does wind in and out and up and down a new part of the forest and is a good 3km undulating trail.

#2 Up a Notch | Grade 3 | 3kms

About 1.5 kms into Sunday Drive you can take it ‘Up a Notch’ and jump onto a 3km grade 3 trails.  The sign says the ups are worth the downs, and they’re right!


#3 Return to Sender | Grade 2 | 600m

If ya wanna clock up some kms, you can now loop back to the start of Sunday Drive and do it all again.

So there you have it, the insiders guide to the new trails at Woodhill Mountain Bike Park.

Check out the video to see exactly where these trails are, or hit up the team at Woodhill when you go out.

Now I’m all about getting women like you out and doing more cool shit in your lives.

Whether it’s ticking adventures of your Bucket List, Vision Board or Some Day List….

For me it’s all about ditching the excuses for laying around on the couch with the bullshit story of there being nothing to do.

So if you loved this blog and you wanna get your ass off the couch and out on some cool as adventures around NZ make sure subscribe to get rad vids like these.

The Easiest Way to Meet Your New Adventure Besties

[VIDEO] Adventure Girls Guide to Whirinaki

Tired of riding the same ol’ tracks and wanna get out to a real slice of NZ being surrounded by epic beech forest, then stay tuned I’ve got a couple of trails to share with you.

SubstandardFullSizeRenderSo you’ve taken yourself off to Rotorua or taupo for riding or even Rainbow mountain…. or maybe not

Well, let me share with you two super rad rides that I’ve done that can be found turning off just before Rainbow mountain n SH5.

The fist a fun grade two 16km loop and the second is a more challenging 34km solid grade 4…. so come on, let me show you Whirinaki forest.

If you’re after the contact dets and links to the businesses mentioned, you can download the link for free here.


#1 Whirinaki Forest Park Mountain Bike Track

The first ride you can do is the Whirinaki Forest Park Mountain Bike Track

I loved the adventure of going out to ride this loop.

The Whirinaki Forest Park Mountain bike Track is about 90km out of Rotorua and is a purpose built 16km loop that weaves its way through one of the most spectacular forests in the world.

It’s certainly not a technically ride and is marked as a grade 2. But there are a couple of fun features like a og bridge crossing that keep it interesting during the ride.

And the last 5km is all super fun downhill.

There are smaller loops for those who don’t want to do the whole thing, but I would recommend riding the main 16km loop.

I’d suggest you take only what you need in your car for this ride as it is really secluded spot, and make sure you pack a first aid kit and the essential bike repair stuff as you are defiantly not going to find a bike shop near by.

This ride is one to do in my books, it feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere, which you kinda are when you look at the map, and so you get a real feeling of it just being you, your bike and the forest…. which for me is alot of what riding is all about.

#2 Moerangi

Now if ya challenge yourself more, then you want you add to your riding bucket list Morerangi

I’ve got one word to describe this trail SPEC – FREAKING – TACULAR… ok that two, but you will not be disappointed by this ‘must do’ track if you are in the Rotorua area.

When I did this track in 2015 it was a grade 3-4, following heavy rain in March 2016, the track is now Expert: Grade 5, and requires a high level of fitness and experience.

Set among native beech trees this 35 km ride of challenging back country single track and 1000m of climbing is a ride that is totally worth every ‘are we there yet’ moment, because as any mountain biker knows, what goes up… must come down!

You wanna defiantly be a confident on Grade 4 mountain biker and be prepared for a full day adventure. When we rode it took the group between 4 – 5hours riding time.

If you wanna make this adventure an overnight experience there are three historic huts on the track perfect to stay in or they’re a great place to take a break and let others catch up.

Now you are gonna need to be shuttled in and there are a bunch of peps that do that, but We used the rad guys from Tread Routes to shuttle us in and pick us up at the end. Talk to Ted, he’s ya man… he’s riding the trail often so can give you the low down on what conditions its in.

So there you have two more mint rides to add to your list of kick ass adventures in NZ

Now I’m all about getting women like you out and doing more cool shit in your lives.

Whether it’s ticking adventures of your Bucket List, Vision Board or Some Day List….

For me it’s all about ditching the excuses for laying around on the couch with the bullshit story of there being nothing to do.

So if you loved this blog and you wanna get your ass off the couch and out on some cool as adventures around NZ make sure subscribe to get rad vids like these.

Simply click the link thats with this blog and you can download the free pdf right now.


[VIDEO] Adventure Girls Guide to Riding Rotorua

Pack your bags ladies we’re heading on down New Zealands North Island to some of the most epic trails in the world and fresh air…

Hold up that doesn’t smell so fresh… is that rotten eggs…. oh, no its that distinct smell of Rotorua’s sulphar.

Yip, that means in this blog Im gonna share the top 3 riding spots in Rotorua.

So hold onto your knickers is time to add some more fun and adventure back into your life.

If you’re into mountain biking in New Zealand or your looking to come check out our sweet as country then there’s a good chance you have heard about how epic the riding in Rotorua, let me tell you it’s every bit a rad as you hear.

XC, Enduro, Downhill, beginner, weekend warrior or you live, eat, breathe and dream about your next MTB fix, there is everything to ride to fill your happy tank!

So if you’re planning a trip, here’s my quick guide to riding Rotorua.

If you’re after the contact dets and links to the businesses mentioned, you can download the link for free here.


#1 The Redwoods aka Whakawerawera

This is the heart of all the riding in Rotorua.

No matter what you’re riding jam, you’ll come away from a day of riding amongst the forest here with a big smile on your dial.

With more than 150kms of mountain biking trail loop options for you to choose from and explore you can’t go wrong.

Either hit up the crew at either Mountain Bike Rotorua on Waipa Road, Planet Bikes on Waipa Bypass Rd, for all you biking needs!
Whether its bike mechanic support or hire they have it covered and of course nobody knows the trails better that a local, so ask them for the best trails to go a play on.

If you need to fuel yourself before or after a ride the Waipa Cafe is onsite and has some of the best espresso, smoothies and food (my fav is currently the veggo quiche).

Now if you’re not so into riding up the hills, check out the South Star shuttles service.

Throw you bike on the purpose built trailer and jump on the bus for a short ride to the top.

From there it’s all down baby…. when you get to the bottom, just jump back on the bus and do it all again… boom!

ANNND Best of all these guys run a Ladies Twilight shuttle every Fortnight on a Wednesday evening from the Hill Rd gate during during daylight savings.

So bust out your baking skills and you knee pads and join them for some fun!

#2 Skyline

If you like the idea of being shuttled up and riding down all day long till ya legs and hands take it anymore, then you are gonna fall in love with the gondies.

Skyline Gravity Park – the world’s first all season gondola accessed MTB park and home of the annual Crankworx Rotorua Festival.

There’s no shortage of trail goodness here and the gondies take the hard work out of the park’s 200-metre vertical rise.

Take your pick of 4 beginner, 3 intermediate, 5 advanced trails, and if you think you can handle it one bad ass pro line.

My favourite trail of the day was defiantly Hipster, each time you ride it you just get faster and faster… so go check it out at let me know what you think.

And as of May 2016 in association with LIV Cycling, SKYLINE Rotorua, and MOUNTAIN BIKE ROTORUA there’s a free fortnightly pump track session on a Sunday from 1pm – 3pm… can I get Hell yeah!

This is so freaking rad and a great chance to have some fun with just the girls, and increase your skills on a bike, so go get amongst it.


#3 Rainbow Mountain

Let’s just say for this trail the climb up is worth the view from the top and well worth the ride down!

Rainbow mountain is about 20 mins south of Rotorua on SH5, and can be accessed from the carpark on the side of the road or

if you’re keen there is a cycle path all the way to the start which is part of Te Ara Ahi trail so if you are up for it you can cycle from the Redwoods.

Although its only around a 10km loop from the start of the trail on SH5 the climb to the top may challenge you as its a Grade 4.

Im more a down the hills kinda girl vs grinding it up a hill but managed to ride 2 thirds of the way up still, so if uphills are your thing… go nuts.

Once your at the top of the trail make sure you do the final little climb to the very top before heading down the exit trail and soak up the epic 365 degree views.

From the summit you take the Te Ranga trail (grade 4) down.

The first third is a challenging descent. The bottom two-thirds is through stunning bush and is more like grade 3.

It is a sweet piece of track and heaps of fun to ride.

At the bottom you pop out at Kerosene Creek you can link back up to the carpark via the Te Ara Ahi trail (grade 2).

So there you have it my quick guide to riding Rotorua.

But if you’re making your way down to this mountain biking mecca, with that faint wiff of sulphur, you have to go and have a soak in one of the naturally geothermally heated streams like Kerosine Creek.

Access is free to this perfect post ride wind down.

Now there are no excuses for laying around on the couch with the bullshit story of there being nothing to do this weekend.

I’m all about getting women like you out and doing more cool shit in your lives.

Whether it’s ticking adventures of your Bucket List, Vision Board or Some Day List…. For me it’s all about filling your happy tank up so you can feel alive and IN life, not just watching it pass you by.

Be sure to subscribe in the box above to get more videos like this and be the first to hear about the next adventures and how you can come and play!

Have a kick ass day


[VIDEO] 7 Kick Ass Woodhill Adventures

Fear not, there is no need to contemplate colour co-ordinating your socks or undies draw!

Hold onto your knickers it’s time to add some fun and adventure back into your life.

In this weekly blog series I’m gonna share with you some of my favourite adventures to do right here in the 09.

In todays video I’m gonna share probably one of my most favourite of all places to go in Auckland.

You can catch me there most weekends because there’s no place I’d rather be… and that place is Woodhill Forest.

Woodhill is located about 45minutes west of Auckland City and is super easy to get to.

Just jump on State Highway 16 and follow this out. You don’t need to turn off SH1 until you reach Woodhill… it’s that simple.

Spread over 12,500 hectares of land, Woodhill Forest is one of Auckland’s largest adventure destinations. It’s a sand-based pine forest that has a shit tonne of cool stuff to do all year road.

So here’s my top adventure picks of things that I do out there.



Adventure Pick #1 Take on the Trails

With over 100km of purpose-built tracks for abilities, the Woodhill Mountain Bike Park is an all year round adventure.

No matter if you’re a beginner, weekend warrior or committed pro there are trails for everyone here. Bring your own bike or hire from the super friendly staff onsite and they will also recommend the best trails for your riding level.

And for you caffeine addicts there’s a cafe there with epic coffee and snack food.

If your bike needs some work they have a handy onsite mechanic to get you back on the trails pronto

If you’re looking for an adventure that will get your heart rate up a little or a lot, then make Woodhill Mountain Bike Park your next adventure.



Adventure Pick #2

Have a throw Alongside the Woodhill Mountain Bike Park you’ll find one of the few fully marked and basketed Dics Golf courses in NZ and the only one in Auckland.

There’s a few different distances for all skill levels so if you haven’t thrown a Frisbee since you were like 12… they have it covered.

The great thing about this adventure is course entry is FREE, and you can hire discs from the Mountain Bike Proshop for less than 10 bucks. It’s fun way to get off your butt, without having to be hardcore.

AND You can escape the city for the great outdoors.




Adventure Pick #3 Get High

About 30 seconds up the road from Woodhill Mountain Bike part is Tree Adventures, and epic place that will challenge your skills at heights.

It’s and epic place that will challenge the bejesus outta ya if you’re not so keen on heights, but is totally worth doing!

And if you’re ok with heights you’ll love the series of ten super cool rope courses… some getting as high as 14 metres off the ground, which for me didnt seem that high until I was up there looking down.

What I love most about this place is that each of the courses ends with a flying fox…. The longest be a wicked 150m long.

So if you’re up for the challenge I’d totally recommend this adventure!

There you have it, my fav 3 adventures to do Woodhill…


But wait theres more…

no, not a set of ginsue knives, its a few other adventures that I haven’t done yet at Woodhill, AND I’m totally putting on my Adventures Bucket List.

Theres a 4WD Park where you can take your 4WD and drive it round their purpose built track… this looks looks pretty rad. They say they cater for factory standard 4Wheel drives all the way up to club level 4WDs…whos got a 4WD and wants to go give this a go with me?

Theres also the Woodhill Forest Equestrian Park where you can take your horse to ride or you can head on up to Tasman Horse Rides and take a trek with them through farmland, forest and even the beach.

You can jump on a quad bike with 4 Track Adventures, and traverse through forest tracks and onto Muriwai Beach.

Or if you’re up for some 2 wheel motorised fun you can rock on up to The Sandpit and go Dirt Biking. There’s 150km of established track, and much like the Mountain Bike Park the trails are awesome all year round, but even more so in winter as its a sand based forest.


So there you have it 7 kick ass adventures that you can do with in 10 minutes of each other out at Woodhill.



Now there are no excuses for laying around on the couch with the bullshit story of there being nothing to do this weekend.

Now I’m all about getting women like you out and doing more cool shit in your lives.

Whether it’s ticking adventures of your Bucket List, Vision Board or Some Day List…. For me it’s all about filling your happy tank up so you can feel alive and IN life, not just watching it pass you by.

So I’ve created a free 30 day challenge to get you back into a life of fun and adventure. Click here and you can go through and check out the free challenge right now.

Be sure to subscribe in the box above to get more videos like this and be the first to hear about the next adventures and how you can come and play!

Have a kick ass day



If you loved this video and you want to get your ass off the couch and out on these adventures, you can down load the full contact details for each of the adventures mentioned. Simply click the link and you can download the pdf right now.



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