This six or seven day whitewater rafting adventure takes you through the Upper and Middle sections of the Franklin River (about 65 km), deep in the heart of Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area. If the river levels and weather are favourable our journey includes an optional day walk to the imposing Frenchmans Cap (1446 m), the monarch of the South West. We will also be rafting through the Great Ravine, one of Tasmania’s most spectacular gorges.
Negotiating the untamed waters of the Franklin River is one of the worlds best whitewater rafting expeditions. Unpredictable river levels mean your 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, our spacious self bailing rafts offer the safest and most comfortable way to explore this unique wilderness.
Pre-Trip Meeting and Gear Storage
If you are staying around Central Hobart we will either meet you briefly or drop your dry bags at your hotel the day before Day 1 (trip departure day). This meeting is to issue and check gear. We will call you or you can call us to arrange time and location. It is possible to initially meet earlier or later by arrangement.
The preferred place to store excess luggage is where you are staying before or after the trip. The Astor Hotel will happily store your gear if you are staying there. Alternately, we can store gear for you, just let us know at the pre-trip meeting.
Meeting Point and Time
Our trips start and finish in Hobart. On the morning of Day 1 we will pick you up ~7:30 am at your accommodation around Central Hobart. Alternatively we can also meet at Derwent Bridge Hotel on Day 1 at ~10:30 am or anywhere on route to the river. We can organise pickups and drop-offs around Tasmania – extra charges may apply.
Time of Return
We expect to return to Hobart by early evening around 6 – 7 pm. 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. If you wish to fly out on the evening of the last day of the trip, book a flight departing after 8:30 pm at the earliest and let us know before you do. This timing is at your own risk. We will not race to get you back in time to catch your flight.
Grade and Fitness
A reasonable level of fitness is important and should increase your enjoyment of this trip. On the last day you will need to carry your dry bag (backpack) with your personal belongings up a very steep track (~ 350 m vertical). The Frenchmans Cap walk (optional) involves an ascent and descent of more than 1000 meters vertical. There will be some portages which may require us to carry equipment around certain rapids. You should feel confident swimming with a buoyancy vest if you fall out, or the raft capsizes.
Please read our Terms and Conditions carefully for more detailed descriptions of risks and dangers. http://FRANKLINRIVER.COM/terms
Rapids vary from Class 1 to Class 6 though most are Class 2 or 3. The most difficult level run on most trips is Class 4 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 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rafting
Itinerary – 7 Day Upper River
This is a guide only and may alter with river levels.
We depart around 7:30 am from Central Hobart / 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 prepare lunch, give a safety briefing and load the rafts with your assistance.
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 Donaghys 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 (Chasm of Peace), our base for the next two nights.
Image: Irenabyss the ‘Chasm of Peace’
Today we can attempt to scale Frenchmans 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. After running the Corkscrew rapid (level permitting), we’ll arrive at our camp for a well-earned rest on the banks of Serenity Sound, deep in the Great Ravine.
Image: The Corkscrew – an optional bit of whitewater rafting in the 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 metres up a very steep trail we board our 4WD vehicle for an exciting and spectacular trip over Mt. McCall. On a clear day you can admire expansive views of Frenchmans Cap and the South West. From Queenstown we bus back to Hobart. Estimated time of arrival is about 6 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)