Our Team


Joanne Vartanian

Jo is a Co- owner, Director and Founder of Diamonds in the Rough Adventures. She has always felt at home in nature and being physically fit, growing up with her ‘Green before his time’ father and Australian Softball Champion mother. Exploring the Blue Mountains was a regular weekend adventure for the family of 7 and the local bushland was her childhood backyard. Now 54 years young, Jo is starting a new adventure to continue her lifelong passion for outdoor adventures and for training women to achieve their dreams.

Jo is a University Qualified Personal Development, Health and Physical Education Teacher and a fully qualified Personal Trainer. She holds Remote First Aid qualifications. Before starting up Diamonds in the Rough, Jo was working for women’s adventure leaders, Wild Women on Top as a head coach and trek guide. She has prepared and travelled with numerous women’s trekking teams across the world, including several high altitude multi day treks in Peru, challenging treks in New Zealand including Rabbit Pass and Ball Pass summit and a range of remote outback treks in Australia such as the Jatbula Trail, Bungle Bungles and The Larapinta Trail. But her favourite trekking and adventure locations are in the wilds of Tasmania. Her teams have summited Cradle Mt, explored the secrets of The Walls of Jerusalem NP and climbed Mt Amos to view our beautiful and iconic Wineglass Bay.

As a trainer of women, Jo brings years of experience having coached elite women athletes at several World Championships, trained Secondary School students to compete at National Level and prepared dozens of all-women trekking teams to realise their dreams of adventure. Jo has also competed and prepared women for endurance trekking events such as Sydney and Melbourne 60km Coastrek, 55km Blue Mountains Wild Endurance and 100km Sydney Oxfam Trailwalker.

When Jo is not hiking the bush trails around her Bundeena home in the Royal National Park, she can be found exploring her other adventure loves including playing team sports, kayaking, indoor rock climbing, mountain bike riding and skiing. Jo is dedicated to sharing her skills and passions with women of all ages and fitness levels, in a safe and friendly environment.

Her dream for Diamonds in the Rough Adventures is to bring confidence and capability to everyday women so that they too, can experience the joys of trekking. She aims to provide a safe, non-judgemental place for local women to gain trekking skills, knowledge and fitness and make lasting friendships. Sharing thrilling adventures in beautiful locations is the ultimate reward.

Michele Michel

Michele is the other half of Diamonds in the Rough Adventures...Co- owner, Director and Founder. Having a childhood in the sixties and seventies meant weekends and holidays were spent strictly outdoors. A time when you were on some sort of outdoor pursuit from dawn to dusk. Not much has changed over the decades.

Michele’s qualifications include a BSc and Dip Ed, Cert III and IV in Fitness and holds a Remote First Aid Certificate. Her adventurous spirit has seen her backpacking around Australia and the world in search of a challenge. The highlights being trekking to Kala Patthar in the Himalayas, the Kokoda Trail in New Guinea, The Bungle Bungles WA, the Overland Track Tasmania, Ball Pass New Zealand and Jatbula NT. She has done white water rafting in Nepal, ridden elephants in Thailand, bungy jumped in New Zealand and had her very own camel caught for her to explore the outback in the Northern Territory.

Before starting up Diamonds in the Rough Adventures Michele was with Wild Women on Top for six years as client and then a coach. During this time has had the pleasure of being part of the preparations of women to achieve their own adventurous dreams. This includes events such as 55km Wild Endurance, 30 km and 60 Km Coastreks and 100km Oxfam Trailwalker, as well as treks around Australia and the world. She has organised hiking, canyoning and kayaking trips….and some fun events and weekends away…Michele loves a good theme!!

Empowering females to achieve the extraordinary, is a passion of Michele’s. She has been a Leader with Girl Guides for 12 years… introducing and enthusing girls to take on challenges that may take them slightly out of their comfort zone. This same passion is there for our clients- ‘you never know if you can, if you don’t try.’

Michele lives in Cronulla with her husband and 3 children, 2 dogs, a few chickens, ducks and rabbits!! Weekends are spent hiking, kayaking, cycling or at our bush property at Nimmitabel…but she loves to bake and does enjoy a good book too!

It’s an exciting time to be part of Diamonds in the Rough Adventures and she looks forward to sharing this with you...being part of a great community to share the love of the outdoors and a life of adventure.