A quick answer is because you almost lost the opportunity to do it! But there is much more to the appeal of the Franklin than that.

In the late 70’s Tasmania’s hydro-electric scheme had its sights on building a dam on the Franklin River. The very name ‘Franklin River’ was dividing the community – the country – between those who wanted the dam and those who didn’t. Bob Hawke didn’t want the dam. Hawke won the election.

It almost seems since that period that ‘Franklin River’ has been synonymous with bringing people together. An experience shared on the Franklin are memories entrenched for life between you and the crew on your trip. Not only are you drawn in by the wild and remote beauty but also by the stories of how this special part of the world might not have been here today if it weren’t for the ‘No Dams’ campaign and figure heads in the movement like Bob Brown, David Bellamy and Geoff Law.


In 2012, Outside in the U.S. listed a trip on Tasmania’s Franklin River as the ‘Best white-water rafting journey on earth’, nudging out other contenders from Tibet, the US, Bhutan, Peru and Zambia.

In the same year the Editor of the Australia’s Outdoor magazine, Justin Walker, went down the river and proclaimed “The Franklin River trip was probably the best trip I have done since being Editor of OUTDOOR – I would do it all again tomorrow!”


So, why this river?

It’s pure, unspoiled wilderness. Despite commercial rafting on the Franklin starting in the late 70s, those who raft it today will agree that the river is in fine shape – better than ever, perhaps. You can still drink the tannin stained water straight from boat. Not many river journeys can boast that simple pleasure.

Then there’s the genuine expedition feeling that being somewhere remote gives you. Packed with everything you need for the trip in barrels and drybags, typically over 9 days, once you drop in there’s pretty much no way out. As you forge your way through the rugged south west of Tasmania, through deep gorges, quiet pools and magnificent temperate rainforest, the sense of isolation becomes apparent as it dawns on you that apart from the Aboriginal paintings in the Kutikina Cave you will have seen very little evidence of human impact along the river.


And of course, the history. Named after the early explorer Sir John Franklin, The Franklin River holds a special place in Australian history. From lost convicts to modern day politics, the river has inspired a conservation movement, best- selling books, iconic images and of course all those who experienced her unique beauty on a rafting expedition.

It doesn’t hurt having a bit of ‘cool’ factor as well. Slipping out names like Thunderrush, The Sanctum, Jaw Breaker, Sidewinder and the Great Ravine, The Cauldron, The Churn and Nasty Notch, will only add to your epic holiday tales!

Only the bravest, or most foolish, souls would ever consider tackling the Franklin on their own. Safety should be considered above all else and it pays to travel on the river with someone who knows the difference between their eddy and their river right. Too little water, you can’t raft, too much and you’ll be getting the kit out to portage around tricky sections and rapids that really should be avoided by anyone who has no river knowledge. Lose your luggage because it’s not properly secured and you’ll be shivering for the rest of the trip.

Tasmanian Expeditions offers a 9 day Franklin trip as well as an 11 day version that includes a 2 day side-trip to Frenchmans Cap. It’s an iconic Australian trip that everyone should do at least once.


About The Author

Brad Atwal is an adventure travel junkie having worked for World Expeditions for over 15 years on three continents. His ambition to showcase the world’s wildest places was inspired by an early visit to his dad’s village in India and he counts himself as one of the lucky ones to be able to wax lyrical about destinations from the Arctic to the Outback. When he’s not seeking out inspirational places to share with others you’ll find him paddling up a creek, with a paddle, with his three young daughters near his home in Coffs Harbour.

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