Starting at the Collingwood Bridge on the Lyell highway to Sir john Falls on the Gordon River. Hike to the summit of one of Tasmania's most sought out peaks, Frenchmans Cap. Towering at 1443 metres and otherwise accessible only via a 5 day long bushwalk.
See the beautiful Irenabyss, the awe-inspiring Great Ravine and the magnificent Rock Island Bend best known as the image that helped save the river by Peter Dombrovskis. 32 years since the Franklin River was saved and the area declared a Unesco World Heritage Area it still continues to inspire, come celebrate this beautiful place with us.
We travel on our bus from Hobart to the starting point of the trip. On Arrival we have lunch and prepare the rafts for take off. Before leaving you will receive a comprehensive safety briefing and all the necessary rafting instruction required. Our first day on the river we set out to reach the confluence of the Franklin River. On arrival in camp we will introduce you to the many aspects of wilderness camping, prepare a delicious meal and begin to get to know our fellow rafters.
Our first day on the Franklin River, we raft down the Upper Franklin. Negotiating obstacles such as; Boulder Brace, Log Jam, Nasty Notch and Descension Gorge on or way to the spectacular Irenabyss, our resting place for the evening.
Frenchmans Cap Hike -Today if the sun is shining we take a break from the river and head out for a hike in the aim of reaching the summit of Frenchmans Cap. If the weather is not favourable for hiking we will either break camp and continue on along the river or relax in camp trading stories, playing cards, taking in the serenity or reading a book.
We begin the section know as the Middle Franklin, a beautiful stretch of the river that winds its way along ancient forests including the Huon Pines that are thousands of years old. Tonight we make camp either on a delightful beach or at one of the established rainforest campsites along the river.
Our second and final day on the Middle Franklin today we enter The Great Ravine, the cliffs get higher and a sense of foreboding befalls us. In the distance a thundering roar, The Churn rapid a compulsory portage announces it's presence. Getting past the dangerous rapids on the Franklin River is an art form in itself and different water levels dictate how we must tackle the task as a team. Once the rafts, all our food, camping and personal gear are safely at the bottom the next obstacle comes into view. The Corkscrew can be one of the finest rapids on the river or not, either way once we have negotiated the challenge we paddle down “Serenity Sound” feeling tired, satisfied and ready to make camp.
The Great Ravine, today we tackle the crux of the trip. The Great Ravine’s major challenges are all within 3 kilometres of each other but due to the care and effort required to safely overcome them it requires quite some time. The Dean and Hawkins party who in the 1950’s were the first to successfully descend the river took six days to complete this stretch of river. Nowadays thanks to the improvement in equipment and knowledge it can be done much quicker but it still requires a good days effort.
We journey down through the stunning Propsting Gorge, one of the best stretches of raftable whitewater on the Franklin River. A slightly shorter which is generally welcomed by all after the effort of the previous days. Shortly before camp we arrive at ‘Rock Island Bend’ often associated with the Franklin River and the campaign to save it due to the photograph taken by Peter Dombrovskis ‘Morning mist at Rock Island Bend’. Tonight we camp at Newlands Cascades a naturally sheltered campsite, one of the best places to be if its raining and the river is rising.
We begin our voyage down the Lower Franklin, after a quick goodbye from the whitewater we have come accustomed to the landscape changes dramatically. The river widens, the rock formations become predominantly limestone and the Franklin's wild waters become calm and tranquil.Sometimes a White-Bellied Sea Eagle keeps watch from above following us along the river until it is satisfied with our presence, leaving us once more to experience the silence and isolation of this immense wilderness.
Our last day of rafting as we continue down the Lower Franklin and onto the lower reaches of the Gordon River. Along the way we pass another majestic set of caves and a little canyon known as The Lost World. As The Franklin flows into the Gordon River we pass the proposed site for the Gordon-Below-Franklin Dam, a reminder that this place was nearly lost forever. Another 6 kilometres downstream we reach the jetty at Sir John Falls the end of our journey by raft.
We begin the day bright and early to the sound of Andrea Bocelli coming from on board the ‘Stormbreaker’. Trevor the skipper bellows out a mighty “Good Morning Folks” as we break camp for the last time and head on board the yacht. In the early morning mist we cruise down the Gordon River past the iconic 'Butlers Island' where blockaders attempted to stop the barges carrying bulldozers almost 30 years ago. We continue to cruise down the river to its mouth and into Macquarie Harbour, on a clear day you will be treated to 360° views including the dramatic Frenchmans Cap in the distance. The Stormbreaker takes us all the way into the small west coast town of Strahan. On arrival our bus will be waiting, the journey continues to Hobart and back to your hotel.