6 or 7-day Upper River incl. Frenchmans Cap
This 7-day Upper Franklin River whitewater rafting adventure takes you through the Upper and Middle sections of the Franklin River, deep in the heart of Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area. Our journey includes a day walk to the imposing Frenchman’s Cap, the monarch of the south west, as well as rafting through one of Tasmania’s most spectacular gorges.
Unpredictable river levels mean our trip will always be an adventure – it is possible to encounter both very low levels and floods within days of each other. Whatever the level, rafts offer the best way to explore this unique wilderness.
Meeting Point and Time
We meet the afternoon before Day One at 6 pm at the Astor Private Hotel, Level 2, 157 Macquarie Street, Hobart (03) 6234 6611. This meeting is to issue and check gear. It is possible to initially meet later by prior arrangement. Alternatively we can also meet at Derwent Bridge Hotel on Day One at 10:30 am.
Time of Return
We expect to return to Hobart by early evening. Please note that very occasionally delays can be caused by extreme weather conditions. We recommend catching the last flight out of Hobart on the day after the trip.
Grade and Fitness
Adventurous – A reasonable level of fitness is important and should increase your enjoyment of this trip. There will be some portages which require us to carry rafts and equipment around certain rapids. You should feel confident swimming with a buoyancy vest should you fall out or the raft capsize. Rapids vary from Grade One to Grade Six though most are Grade Two or Three. The most difficult level run on most trips is Grade Four and it is possible to walk around many of these rapids should you choose. Please call us anytime on 1-800-1111-42 to discuss your individual fitness.
Read more about Rafting and Grades of Whitewater
Itinerary – 7 day Upper River
This is a guide only and may alter with river levels.
We depart at 7:30 am from the Astor Private Hotel. We follow the Derwent River then climb into the central highlands passing Lake St. Clair before descending to the Collingwood River, a tributary of the Franklin. Here your guides will load the rafts and give a safety briefing. The day is spent mastering the rafts and enjoying the easy rapids leading down to our evenings camp at the junction with the Franklin proper. A short climb can take us to Donaghy’s Hill for panoramic views down the Franklin River and across to Frenchman’s Cap.
Image: Junction of the Collingwood and Franklin River
An early start sees us traversing the first of the Franklin’s gorges, Aesthesia Ravine. After tackling the Log Jam and Nasty Notch portages, we rocket through the rapids of Descension Gorge before arriving at the beautiful ‘Irenabyss’ or chasm of peace, our base for the next two nights.
Image: Irenabyss the ‘Chasm of Peace”
Today we will scale the Cap. In fine weather we’ll have views that encompass the entire south west World Heritage Area, including the rapids of the Franklin River sparkling below. If the weather is poor or you choose not to climb the Cap, there are a number of lower level walks nearby that offer a different perspective of the river.
Image: On top of the world – Frenchmans Cap summit
Today its straight back into the action. Dozens of rapids, interspersed with quiet reaches, lead us past Mt. Fincham, the Jericho Walls and the Crankle and onto our campsite at the base of the Engineer Range. Here we relax under a canopy of towering sassafras and myrtle trees and may go swimming.
Image: Cooling the drinks in the Franklin River
A spectacular day that brings us to the awesome Great Ravine, one of Tasmania’s deepest gorges. First we’ll tackle the Side Slip rapid before coming to the Churn. Teamwork and tenacity will be required to portage at least part of this huge obstruction in the river. Soon after we’ll arrive at our camp for a well earned rest on the banks of Serenity Sound deep in the Ravine.
Image: An optional bit of whitewater rafting: the Corkscrew, the lower part of the Churn, Great Ravine. Photo D. James
We’ll use all of our well practised whitewater rafting skills to negotiate the Coruscades, one of the longest rapids on the river. A short float takes us through to our next portage at Thunderush, then it’s on to the last obstacle, the Cauldron. Our expert guides will ensure that we pass these awesome rapids safely and efficiently. Our final camp at Rafters Basin is a great place to relax after the achievements of the day.
Image: Camp life at Rafters Basin, just after the Great Ravine
Today we head into Propsting Gorge and arrive at the Mt. McCall track. After a climb of ~350 meters up a steep trail we four wheel drive to Queenstown then bus to Hobart. Estimated time of arrival is about 06.00 pm.
Image: The Franklin River at the bottom of the Mt. McCall track. Photo T Ruff
Click here to view interactive Trip Map, showing details like
>> Trip outline
>> Rapids, Gorges
>> Landmarks, Campsites (some with photos)