Armchair Exploration

Explore the world from the comfort of home.  Ebooks and eAudiobooks allow you to voyage vicariously and experience virtual exploration. Survey the selection of digital literature below or check out Armchair Exploration, a curated collection on Libby Overdrive, and unleash your inner explorer!


NZ Adventure magazine, issue #219 Survival Issue

Available online

The publishers couldn't print NZ Adventure magazine because of lockdown, so they have allowed access to the digital version of their Survival Issue. Articles include how to survive an eruption, survive Everest, survive a Great White encounter and more.


Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey

Available via South Island Downloadable Zone/Libby as an eBook and eAudiobook

A conservation classic, Edward Abbey’s memoir recounts his life as an Arches National Park ranger outside Moab, Utah in the late 1960s. Through stories and philosophical musings, Abbey reflects on the wilderness, civilization and morality.


Just Tell Them I Survived: Women in Antarctica by Dr Robin Burns

Available via South Island Downloadable Zone/Libby as an eBook

A celebration of women's participation in national and private expeditions to Antarctica, this book is based on 130 interviews with women. Just Tell Them I Survived ranges across the first women scientists to visit Macquarie Island in 1959, to contemporary 'winterers'. Who are they, how do they speak of their work and their experiences, and what are the effects on their lives of working in Antarctica?


Adrift: Seventy-six Days Lost at Sea by Steven Callahan

Available via South Island Downloadable Zone/Libby as an eBook

A dramatic tale of survival at sea, Adrift is a fascinating first-hand account by the man who survived two and a half months in an inflatable raft after his small sloop capsized six days into a voyage from Spain to the Canary Islands.


A Single Swallow: Following An Epic Journey From South Africa To South Wales by Horatio Clare

Available via South Island Downloadable Zone/Libby as an eBook

From the slums of Cape Town to the palaces of Algiers to a humble barn in Wales – an epic journey across two continents and fourteen countries is nothing to swallows, they do it twice a year. But for Horatio Clare, writer and birdwatcher, as he follows the birds’ migration, it is the expedition of a lifetime.


Tracks by Robyn Davidson

Available via Bolinda BorrowBox as an eBook

Tracks is the story of one woman and her journey across 1700 miles of the Australian outback, accompanied only by her dog and four camels. Davidson treks through bush, rock, sand and dust, across magnificent landscapes and sacred land, through frustrations, triumphs, joy and despair.


Relentless by Scott Donaldson

Available via South Island Downloadable Zone/Libby as an eBook

The story of Kiwi adventurer Scott Donaldson's relentless journey to be the first person to cross the Tasman sea solo in a kayak. Unpredictable and unforgiving, the Tasman Sea is one of the most hostile stretches of water in the world. An Australian adventurer attempted to kayak across in 2007, disappearing without a trace. In 2018 Kiwi adventurer Scott Donaldson spent two months alone at sea to achieve a world first. An inspirational story of dogged perseverance, true Kiwi grit and relentless endurance.


Lost in the Jungle: A Harrowing True Story of Adventure and Survival by Yossi Ghinsberg

Available via Bolinda BorrowBox as an eBook

A terrifying true tale of survival. Four backpackers meet in Bolivia and set off into the rainforest on a dream expedition, lured by the promise of uncharted villages and forgotten tribes. What begins as the adventure of a lifetime quickly becomes a struggle for survival when they get lost in the wilds of the Amazonian jungle.


To Shake the Sleeping Self: A 10,000-Mile Journey from Oregon to Patagonia, and One Man's Quest to Wake Up the Soul by Jedidiah Jenkins

Available via South Island Downloadable Zone/Libby as an eBook

On the eve of turning thirty, Jedidiah Jenkins quit his dream job and spent sixteen months cycling from Oregon to Patagonia. He chronicled the trip on Instagram, where his photos and reflections drew hundreds of thousands of followers, all gathered around the question: What makes a life worth living?


Woman in the Wilderness by Miriam Lancewood 

 Available via South Island Downloadable Zone/Libby as an eBook

Available via Bolinda Borrowbox as an eBook

An inspirational story of adventure from a young Dutch woman living a primitive, nomadic life in the wilds of the South Island of New Zealand with her Kiwi husband. For more than six years they live simply in a tent or hut, surviving by hunting wild animals and foraging edible plants, relying on only minimal supplies.


The Boys of Everest: The Tragic Story of Climbing's Greatest Generation by Clint Willis

Available via South Island Downloadable Zone/Libby as an eBook

The story of the climbers who reinvented mountaineering during the three decades after Everest's first ascent, this is a story of courage, achievement and loss. Lead by Chris Bonington, and known as  Bonington's Boys, they created a new brand of climbing. They took increasingly terrible risks on now-legendary expeditions to the world's most fearsome peaks. And they paid an enormous price. Most of Bonington's boys died in the mountains, leaving behind the hardest question of all: was it worth it?