Over Easter, I was deciding whether to learn how to mountaineer in New Zealand, rock climb in Thailand or raft the Franklin River in Tasmania.
What won it for me in the end was the idea of experiencing the impetus for Australia’s first environmental movement on a 7-day guided rafting expedition.
Be forewarned, like any other outdoor adventure you are at the mercy of weather and I’ve been told you can have sunny days on the river but on my recent trip (April 6-12, 2012), it rained a lot! And I don’t remember having seen the sun but on the first day and at the end of the trip.
All this rain meant that the river flooded and became too dangerous to raft. We were stuck at camp for two days and would have been stranded for an extra day if it was not for our Water by Nature guides Brett and Robin who used their years of experience to guide us through safely in the difficult conditions. Another group from a different rafting company was stranded at the same campsite for an extra day because they were unable to navigate the river at high flow.
The trip can be as demanding as you want it to be. Don’t forget you’re on the river to travel the 112km in a week. The portaging (moving the boats over rocks and the gear through rainforest trails) and paddling can be hard work but that’s what makes the experience.
The hard days are rewarded with a gourmet feast and if you appreciate food, you will not be disappointed. I was amazed at how our guides were able to fashion a pizza, tiramisu and blueberry cheesecake on a one-stover burner. Make sure you request for the guacamole!
My advice to you if you do this trip is have an awesome time but be prepared to be wet out of the water as well, so pack appropriately. Just a word of note, the rapids run up to level IVs which starts to get a bit hectic and flips or overboards can happen, oh and the remoteness can get quite full-on for some.
But don’t let that turn put you off. The people you meet on the trip make it and I was fortunate to meet a wonderful bunch of other Australians and international visitors who like me wanted to experience the beauty of our very own Franklin River.
Would do it again in a heart, most definitely.
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