Franklin River – Tasmania, Australia
Franklin/Gordon Wild Rivers National Park part of the Tasmanian World Heritage Area.
There are some very small towns on the way to the river however it is best to plan and prepare for your trip from the capital city Hobart or the second largest town in Tasmania, Launceston.
All commercial operators begin there expeditions in Hobart.
Flights to Hobart can be booked from all the big cities in Australia.
Driving to the river from Hobart requires approximately 4 hours, it is possible to car shuttle from the put-in to the take out in Strahan however this will add at least a further 4 hours driving.
Alternatively Evans Coaches can provide a transport service to and from the river for prices see there website – www.evanscoaches.com.au
This is a very basic description follow links and do further research before commencing this trip. Contact Franklin River Rafting should you have further questions, firstname.lastname@example.org
Located in the southwest of the island state Tasmania the Franklin River is a true multi day expedition. The Franklin is a serious wilderness undertaking and should not be attempted by inexperienced kayakers or rafters. Due to its very remote location it is hard to evacuate or retreat should you get into trouble. The river levels on the Franklin can vary tremendously in a short period of time from dragging boats on less than 1 cumec to a raging 200 cumecs. It is a good idea for inexperienced adventurers wishing to raft the Franklin River to join a commercial expedition.
Grade – 1 to 6 (the high grades are generally portaged.)
Style – Pool Drop, self supported wilderness expedition.
Length – 6-10 days depending on water levels and type of craft.
Season –November to April.
Full Trip , Collingwood River Bridge Lyell Highway to Sir John Falls.
Upper Franklin, Collingwood River Bridge Lyell Highway to Mt. McCall
(2.5 hours 4 wheel drive access back to Queenstown from Mt. McCall take-out)
Lower Franklin, Mt. Mccall to Sir John Falls.
(2.5 hours 4 wheel drive access from Queenstown to Mt. McCall put-in)
On completion of the journey at Sir John Falls on the Gordon River you are still a long way from civilisation (Strahan). There are two options to get back to Strahan.
A pick up from Sir John Falls with the Stormbreaker yacht, bookings essential. www.westcoastyachtcharters.com.au
Paddle a further 21km of flat water downstream to Heritage Landing and arrange for a pick up with on of the large cruise boats. This paddle takes at least 4 hours in a kayak and can take much longer if you are battling a headwind. Not recommended with rafts.
Other Considerations – The Franklin is located in a National Park it is required to obtain a Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife permit prior to commencing your expedition. A high level of minimal impact practices are used in the Tasmanian wilderness areas, you are expected to adhere to these standards. Carry out all waste including human (should be done by all rafting parties), minimise the usage of detergents and always use them at least 50 metres from the river and other streams.
The Franklin River is a fuel stove only area meaning that all open fires are strictly prohibited.
Paddling Notes, Campsites etc. – It is not possible to describe the many challenges of the Franklin in such a short description, even the more comprehensive guides for the river will only be able to outline some of the major hazards. How to safely overcome them is up to you. Before setting of on your expedition make sure you do your research and obtain some of the material available.
The Ever Varying Flood, by Bruce Baxter and Peter Griffiths, the best guide for the river.
The Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Services online rafting notes //www.parks.tas.gov.au/index.aspx?base=1340
A set of maps that are no longer in print called ” Notes for Franklin River Rafters and Bushwalkers” a copy of these can be obtained from the Tasmanian Wilderness Society or The State Library of Tasmania.
Access Points/Evacuation Points
Put-in on the Collingwood River Bridge on the Lyell Highway , the section from the put-in to the junction of the Franklin River is a small indicator of what is to come. If you find this section too challenging you should exit the river at the junction as this is the last chance of doing so without walking for several days. Do so by following the track from the campsite on river left, walk out time approximately 1 hour to the Donaghys Lookout car-park on the Lyell Highway.
The Junction to Lyell Highway via Donaghys Hill , the only easy access/evacuation point from the river.
Irenabyss to Lyell Highway via Frenchmans Cap and the Lodden Plains this is a possible walk out option, it will take most parties approximately 2-3 days. Would be extremely difficult if carrying a lot of equipment.
Irenabyss to Lyell Highway via the Raglan Ranges , (untracked) approximately 2-3 days.
Finchams Crossing , from the cable way to very overgrown track. //tastracks.webs.com/lyellhighway.htm#633420913
Mt. McCall to Queenstown , Follow the steep path from the river to the top and the start of the 4wd access road, approximately 2.5 hours drive.
Keys for boom gates can be arranged via the Queenstown Parks and Wildlife Services.
Note: except access point 2 all the others would require several days of hiking and not suitable for a emergency evacuation, Helicopter rescue is the only way to get somebody injured out of the area effectively. It is highly recommended that you carry a Satellite Phone and/or E.P.I.R.B
Franklin River Rafting www.franklinriverrafting.com
Rafting Tasmania www.raftingtasmania.com
Water By Nature (Tas.) www.franklinrivertasmania.com
World Expeditions www.worldexpeditions.com
Photos – //www.franklinriverrafting.com/gallery
Thanks to Elias Eichier who provided all the information of the Franklin river.