Franklin River

Tasmania, Australia, 77.7 Miles, Class IV+ 

River Description

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.


1 to 6 (the high class rapids are generally portaged.)

River Style

Technical, Pool Drop, self supported wilderness expedition.


6-10 days depending on water levels and type of craft.


November to April.

River Sections

  • 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 civilization (Town of Strahan). There are two options to get back to Strahan.

  1. A pick up from Sir John Falls with the Stormbreaker yacht
  2. Paddle a further 21 km 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 if you are not travelling with a commercial outfitter. 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), minimize the usage of detergents and always use them at least 150 feet (50 meters) 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.

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: or learn more below.