Rafting the Franklin for 7 days in April 2012 exceeded all the expectations of my wife and I. We went with Water By Nature, led by Brett who was great. Absolute wilderness, absolute beauty, wild but not out of control, thanks to some remarkable guides. It was more extreme than we expected in that once you enter the river there is only one time you can get out - and that is at end of Day One with a considerable hike. Otherwise you are going the full 120 kilomteres by water. Everybody has to lift boats over rocks and at times climb around impassable rapids - which means up quite steep gorges with hardly discernible tracks. But all manageable. We are aged 56 and 60 from Sydney. I have some white water experience but my wife had none as did most of the others in the group. She had also done no real outdoors activity and is moderatley fit given an urban lifestyle. So most people can manage. Accommodation was sleeping under rock overhangs, in caves and tents - with supplied Lilo. All comfortable. James, Elias and Jarrah (all aged 30) were exceptional guides, very knowledgable, very safety concious, great cooks and good fun. The rafting was world class (up there with the Zambesi). We had quite a bit of rain - to be expected it seems - so rapids Grade 3/4 and plenty of them. We lost a few over the side a few times and one raft flipped on a rapid in our group as well as the other group. Only one in our party did not get a swim. We had 5 rafts all up but broke in to two groups so our group was 5 clients and 3 guides in two rafts. We were all aged in our 50's and we laughed all the way down the river. There is no room for being precious. The other group was 25 to 40 years with a mix of nationalities. Small waterproof cameras recommended - stunning scenery but little time for setting up shots. We were last trip of year - April - getting cold. Not on their list but neoprene socks are a good investment. Otherwise the list supplied is all you need. You live in the day clothes (wet) and night clothes (dry) so just 2 sets of clothes. Extra thermal set and pair socks a good idea. Summary: my wife says it was an empowering experience, proving what she/we can get out and do in the world. Brett has been doing this trip for 25 years and knows the river backwards. Friendly and competent. Elias and James are world class (they do guide all over the world). We all took 'the boys' out to dinner at the end to thank them for doing such a great job.
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