The daughter of polar explorer, Sir Wally Herbert, Herbert spent the first few years of her life living on a remote island in the Arctic with the Polar Inuit of Northwest Greenland. Her first language was Inuktun, the local dialect of Greenlandic. At the age of four Herbert accompanied her parents on a journey that took them through winter blizzards in a caravan to spend time with the Sami of Lapland. She has continued to travel extensively ever since.
After leaving school she studied Media & Design in Portsmouth, then went on to work as a fashion stylist for Japanese rock bands before becoming a travel writer and photographer for newspapers and magazines such as The Guardian, The Independent, The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph, Geographical and Traveller. She has twice been a judge for the Guardian's annual travel writing competition.
Herbert's first book, The Explorer's Daughter, was published by Penguin Books in 2005, and was chosen as 'Book of the Week' by BBC Radio 4 and translated into several languages. She has had two further books published, In Search of the South Pole, co-authored with her husband Huw Lewis-Jones, and Heart of the Hero: The Remarkable Women who Inspired the Great Polar Explorers.
Herbert has appeared on several radio and television programmes, and presented a short documentary film about climate change for BBC Four in 2006. She has had solo exhibitions of her photography in the UK and Europe, and has given lectures at the Royal Geographical Society, the National Maritime Museum, the Scott Polar Research Institute, The Explorer's Club among many others.
Herbert is Founder and Managing Director of Polarworld, an independent publishing company that specialises in producing books about the Polar Regions. Books published to date include The Polar World by Sir Wally Herbert, Face to Face: Polar Portraits by Dr Huw Lewis-Jones in association with the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, Letters From Everest by George Lowe and Life on the Line by Cristian Barnett.
- Northern Melt - From the Frontline of Global Warming - short film – BBC Four
- Book of the Week, BBC Radio 4 (read by Emilia Fox)
- With Clive Anderson – Justice system in Greenland, BBC Radio 4
- Everywoman, BBC World Service
- Sandi Toksvig Show, LBC
- Vanessa Feltz Show, BBC London
- Excess Baggage, BBC Radio 4
- Piecing together the Ice Museum, BBC Radio 3
- Tubridy Show, RTÉ
- Heart of the Hero: The Remarkable Women Behind Polar Exploration, Kari Herbert, Saraband, 2013, ISBN 1908643218
- In Search of the South Pole, Kari Herbert and Huw Lewis-Jones, Conway, 2011, ISBN 1844861376
- The Explorer's Daughter, Kari Herbert, Viking, 2004, ISBN 0-670-91374-X
- The Explorer's Daughter, Kari Herbert, Penguin, 2005, ISBN 0141011491
- Als de Toendra Roept, Kari Herbert, The House of Books, 2006 ISBN 90-443-1671-0 (Dutch Translation)
- Mit Arktiske Barndomsland, Kari Herbert, Host & Son, 2005 ISBN 87-638-0134-5 (Danish Translation)
- The Polar World, Sir Wally Herbert, edited by Kari Herbert, Polarworld 2007, ISBN 978-0-9555255-1-3