Franklin River 7 Day
Pax Min: 4
Pax Max: 8
Cost: $ 2100 pp
Deposit: $ 125
We begin this rafting expedition on the Collingwood River, a tributary of the Franklin River, which we then paddle down to the second last Gorge on the mighty river, named the Propsting Gorge. The rivers take us on a memorable mixture of tranquil pools, deep and powerful chasms, as well as wild rapids.
Stunning cliffs, cascading waterfalls and lush rainforest are all too be discovered as we paddle down the rivers. We will collect passengers from the central city area and along the route. We can hold your excess baggage, till you return from the trip.
What is Supplied
Transport to and from the river from Hobart and back.
All meals from lunch Day One to lunch on final day
All rafting equipment, including the best in buoyancy aids, helmets and spray jackets
Dry bag to store personal gear whilst on the river
Wetsuit – long legs and no arms (for avoid chaffing)
All camping equipment including inflatable mattress (except sleeping bags)
National park entry fees
Trip Dates 2010/11
Dec 6th & 28th
Jan 10th & 24th
Feb 7th & 21st
Mar 7th & 21st
To ensure you and/or your friends place on the trip, book here.
We leave Hobart, travelling by bus along the Lyle Highway, pass through the villages, hopfields and orchards of the Derwent Valley, stopping for a coffee stop at Ouse. The road climbs up to the Central Highlands area passing a few lakes and finally descending into the Surprise Valley. The rainforest is a lush contrast to the alpine terrain we have been traveling through. Whilst enjoying a hearty lunch on the banks of the Collingwood river, our put in point for this trip, we start inflating the rafts and loading up, a task which seems daunting initially, however all the gear has its own allocated space. We have a safety briefing before we enter the water and the use the quiet pool, just downstream of the bridge to learn and practice the padding skills that will enable us to safety cope with all that follows downstream. The Collingwood River twists and turns with many small rapids as it leaves the highway and heads downstream to join with the Franklin. The rapids vary from small shingle bed and gravel races to tangle logjams. At lower water levels we make camp at the junction of the Franklin and Collingwood rivers, however if there is more water we can paddle down to the Angel Rain Cavern and spend the first night on the river under the shelter of the overhanging cliffs.
On the second day we cover the rest of the distance down to the Irenabyss; passing the Log Jam and Nasty Notch, both of which will require some portaging or lifting to avoid. The run through the rapids of the Descension Gorge is a contrast to the still waters of the Irenabyss, where the cliffs rise straight from the water. The campsites at the end of this chasm are a pleasant place to spend the night amongst the Huon Pine trees.
The third day gives us the chance to stretch our legs whilst climbing the highest mountain in this area. The camp is at 280 metres above sea level, whilst the Frenchman’s Cap peaks at 1443 metres and the views from the top are awesome, stretching to the West Coast and up to Cradle Mountain reserve on a clear day. As this is a strenuous climb and equally tiring descent, we need to leave early to make he most of the day. There is usually snow on the peak up to mid January most years, which is especially pleasant on a hot summers day. When we return to camp, a swim in the cool waters is a pleasant way to relax.
The next day we need to cover a reasonable distance through the area known as the Middle Franklin, where the river sweeps around the base of the Frenchman’s Cap. The rapids are mainly small to medium with a few logjams to negotiate as well. Along the way we pass Mt Fincham and traverse along the Jericho Walls, the cliff face of the Engineer Range. We pass through rapids such as Hind leg slide, Rafters Race and the puncture prone Debacle Bend. This evening’s camp could be on a sandy beach or in a small clearing amongst the forest.
The fifth day is similar to the previous day for the first half, highlights being the Blushrock Falls, which crash through the forest down to the river. The river surrounds change from the open rounded hills to being enveloped in the deeper gorge of the Great Ravine, formerly known as the Deception Gorge. This area was explored by James Calder in 1840, whilst surveying the route for Sir John Franklin expedition. “ I twice got to the bottom of this hideous defile, but was at last forced to relinquish the idea of a direct course, and to retrace my steps”.
The 10km long gorge has 4 major rapids all requiring scouting and usually, portaging. The first of these, the Churn has options, either an easy portage or a harder one depending on the water level, the last section is usually an exciting ride down between some boulders. We usually camp just before the Coruscades, the second major rapid in this gorge.
The sixth day can be the hardest day on this trip, so we will need to be up early and on the move. Depending on the water level, we may be able to paddle the Coruscades, or more likely, carry the raft and gear over the boulders that make up the first half of the rapid and then paddle the rest. We continue on down though the gorge, with a short portage past the Sidewinder, it is then less than 1km to the Thunderush. Low and medium water levels dictate an easy portage followed by a great rush down the second part of this rapid. Extremely high water levels can force the party up and over the high portage track, definitely not the preferred option.
The final major rapid within the Great Ravine is the Cauldron. Again, like the Thunderush, there are several options, the earliest being only possible with low water levels. The river passes through a narrow opening, downstream of the Cauldron and changes and changes character for the final 6km down to the Rafters Basin, a large open area with room to move around. We find that after the confines of the Gorge, it is a pleasure to be able to spread around.
The final day starts with a short paddle down the Propsting Gorge, the last major gorge on the Franklin. We pass the Andrew River, on our right just after leaving our camp. When we arrive at the base of the old Haulage Way, the rafts are secured, and we prepare for the climb up. This is a steep climb, the ropes on the track are most appreciated. The 4wd vehicle is waiting at the top to return to Queenstown, where we transfer to the bus for the return to Hobart. The anticipated return time is approx. 8.00pm.
This is a strenuous trip, the greater your level of all round fitness and agility will make it easier. It is not crucial that you are a super athlete however if you are seriously unfit, it will be a struggle and potentially dangerous as you will not have the reserves to cope if we have unusually high water levels or any other complications on the way. Please call if you have any questions about the trip or gear required.
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