Location: Near Hobart in Tasmania, Australia
The Franklin River is located in Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park in Northern Tasmania, Australia. One of this century’s greatest conservation victories, the now-protected Franklin River tumbles 125 un-dammed kilometers from its source on the western edge of the Central Highlands, through the northern area of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, past Frenchman’s Cap, and finally into the Gordon River. The meeting point for rafting trips on the Franklin River is usually somewhere in Tasmania’s capital city of Hobart. The trip itself commences on the Collingwood River, 49 kilometers west of the Derwent Bridge. Trips last anywhere from 5 to 14 days.
Level of Difficulty: Class IV+ Beginner – Intermediate
The river ranges from Class I to Class VI, but most of its rapids lie in the Class III-IV range. There are several arduous portages around Class VI rapids, and some trips include a hike up Frenchman’s Cap. The trip’s length, its technical rapids, and its difficult portages all require a fairly good amount of physical ability and a keen sense of adventure!
The Canyon: Rugged Forest, Frenchman’s Cap, and Limestone Cliffs
The Franklin River flows through some of Australia’s most rugged and densely forested terrain, past places of incredible beauty and sites of ancient historical significance. From source to its confluence with the Gordon River, the Franklin drops an impressive 1400 meters. Early in its journey, the river winds around the white quartzite dome of Frenchman’s Cap and through peaceful old-growth rainforest. During the middle reaches, the Franklin’s currents converge into the Great Ravine, one of Tasmania’s deepest and narrowest gorges. Towards the end of its journey, the river escapes the gorges’ narrow confines and emerges into limestone country, replete with dramatic cliffs, strange rock formations, and mysterious caves that once housed Aboriginal peoples as many as 14,000 years ago.
Season: November through April
Your best bet for stable weather and good conditions for rafting on the Franklin River is from December through March. Trips are available, however, from November through April.