how do i browse the hard drive from the mac Terminal

My mac decided to stop working, and the disk utilities dont work when i boot from the cd rom(they work they just always flag errors) and i really need to backup some files before i do a clean installation. the only way i can think of is throught the terminal, i have little terminal experience from ubuntu if it helps. My problems when i load the terminal from the cd i can find my hard drive(or i am on it and dont know where i am) . My goal is to get to the /users directory . any help please??
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Try ls
Try cd

This may also help:

Use  cd ~   to get to the home directory (cd with a space and a tilde sign)
Use pwd   to see where you are in the directory structure.

Regards, Tobias

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