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Tripadvisor reviews 2011-13 season
If you like a challenge – and you will be personally challenged in some way during your trip – this is a great combination of adventure, physical exercise, simpleness, camping and the resting of the mind, in the ultimate pristine environment. I highly recommended this trip but come prepared – this is nature’s Hilton, not Paris Hilton. Depending on river water levels things can be physical, you may have to lift kit bags around slippery rocks or on lower levels, carry rafts over river logs…it’s all part of the fun and experience. I can’t stress enough to pack the correct gear, preparing also for cold cold days if at the end of a season and it’s raining. This is a trip you will talk about for many years to come.
Visited April 2013, Was this review helpful? Yes 2 ***** read on tripadvisor
We were lucky enough to have rain prior to our trip which eased our way down the river. ‘Atmospheric’ rain continued on and off in the beginning, but it made the trees sparkle, and the rainbows beautiful. Our walk up Frenchmans Cap was an added bonus. We walked up in the afternoon, spent the night at Tahune Hut, and then walked up to the summit by torch light for the dawn. The peaks were visible above an ocean of cloud. It was stunning. The Great Ravine is everything you have read and more. The rapids came with reputations, and were very loud within the canyon walls. Each one was assessed and then negotiated in a variety of ways – all of us, Brett alone, lined through or portaged. The rocks could be pretty slippery and I would reinforce the purchase of the recommended Dunlop Volleys. We were lucky enough to spend two days at a lovely campsite waiting to collect others from the Mt McCall track.
The lower Franklin with its caves, beaches and rock formations continued all the way to the Gordon River. The trip was a continuous food fest – nutritious, plentiful and yummy. Prawns, fresh greens right to the end, pancakes – we were amazed what could be produced with a frypan. I had never slept under cave overhangs before or slept on beaches under the stars. To be rafting and in such a remote area would not have been possible for me without the expert guidance of Water by Nature and I would recommend this trip with this company to anyone who is reasonably fit and nimble.
Visited March 2013, Was this review helpful? Yes 2 ***** read on tripadvisor
Having grown up in Tassie and experienced so much of what this beautiful island has to offer for those who love the wilderness it has been on the cards for many years to tackle this big one. We have both traveled the world on adventures and worked as guides in one capacity or another and the consensus is that this trip with this crew was up there with the best.
The deep knowledge of the guides help make the experience on and off (sometimes in) the Franklin River exhilaratingly tranquil. While there are inherent dangers in the activity and being wet cold and exhausted par for the course, ending each day with delicious food and good company made it special. The chance to recap on the highs and lows, while in the most remarkable camping spots, knowing that there were others tackling the river in other groups who weren’t so fortunate made us aware that we had made the right call to join the Water by Nature team.
Visited January 2013, Was this review helpful? Yes 2 ***** read on tripadvisor
I tested out a Sony Action Cam for the first time on the trip. It was very good and very waterproof with fantastic HD memories. My advice would be to test it out first to get the angle right because I have far too much footage of trees and sky. It is optional to bring your own tent. I will very seriously consider this next time. I had wanted to do this trip for 30 years and it lived up to all my expectations.
Visited January 2013, Was this review helpful? Yes 6 ***** read on tripadvisor
Visited December 2012 and December 2013, Was this review helpful? Yes 2 ***** read on tripadvisor
The food was superb and the scenery pristine and unique. This is the third time I’ve done the Franklin albeit the other times were ~20 and ~40 years ago and the scenery is still superb although the drizzly Tassie weather is an ever present feature. The physical challenge is something to be aware of although the guides (Brett and Robin) accommodated lesser capabilities to a significant degree. I’d have no hesitation in doing ‘Water by Nature’ on the Franklin again any time.
Visited January 2013, Was this review helpful? Yes 3 ***** read on tripadvisor
So do the trip (either upper half or lower half – I have done both, or the full trip) and you will never regret it. It is equal to my trips around the remote Kimberley and amongst the wildlife in the Okavango Delta in Africa.
Visited December 2012, Was this review helpful? Yes 4 ***** read on tripadvisor
First, start with the water itself, just underneath your paddle. Clean and pure from a pristine wilderness catchment – protected now – but only because of the protestations by those that came before you. When thirsty, unhook the cup from the raft and dip it in. But first, on top of the water are those amazing swirling patterns caused by the foamy eucalyptus proteins – a subject of famous photographers.
Beneath – the multi-coloured rocky jewels of quartzite or fools gold. Swimming amongst these rocks you might spy a platypus – once thought to be creature of myth. Next – the walls of the river – made of more polished stone – gems as large as houses – or smaller masterpieces chiseled by an ancient sculptor.
Strewn along these walls – the massive weathering carcasses of mighty Tasmanian oaks, improbably washed and then wedged into place by the power of the flooding river that few have seen, but today, fortunately not presenting an impassable logjam. A few more degrees above that, the living bush. 5,000 year old Huon pine; manferns – that as a species date back to the time of the dinosaurs. Above that, soaring great ravines, rising above deceiving gorges.
Even higher, quartzite cliffs, the former perches of those massive boulders that now pass by your raft. Higher still, a passing glimpse of a frenchman’s cap? Then, the intense blue antipodean sky – the sun thankfully warming your wetsuit. And is that a wedgetail?
Only 180 degrees of beauty still to see and describe. But that must wait, because, our river guide has just commanded “jump right!”, and here we go again, journeying to that peaceful abyss but with our serenity soundly – but only briefly – broken…
Visited February 2012, Was this review helpful? Yes 5 ***** read on tripadvisor
Visited March 2012, Was this review helpful? Yes 2 ***** read on tripadvisor
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.
Visited April 2012, Was this review helpful? Yes 3 ***** read on tripadvisor
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.
Visited April 2012, Was this review helpful? Yes 4 ***** read on tripadvisor
I was thinking as I started my first trip that I would have to give up some creature comforts that I love like coffee every morning, chocolate and a comfortable bed, but I actually had all that on the trip. There were comfy air mattresses to sleep on, and the food was incredible. I can’t believe how well I ate. There wasn’t only coffee and chocolate but also fresh eggs and produce, lamb, steak, guacamole, pasta, cakes and other desserts. Brett, the owner, is also the most experienced guide on the Franklin. It was great to be with someone so knowledgeable about the river and with medical training to boot. I keep pictures of the river at my desk at work and just keep dreaming about going back again.
Visited October 2011, Was this review helpful? Yes 3 ***** read on tripadvisor
The Franklin River is an absolutely magnificent place and this was a true wilderness adventure (we encountered no other people, roads or signs of civilization except for the remains of a helicopter landing pad left behind from the days of the proposed damming). The camping is basic with camp sites containing no facilities but the guides do a great job at making the camping a great experience with cooking ranging from curry and rice, steak and potatoes to bush pizza, all of which tasted great. It might take the ‘not so keen’ camper a day or two to adjust but this for me was an absolutely amazing experience which I will never forget.
The walk to Frenchman’s Cap was also great. The guides generally only recommend attempting the climb on a clear day which can quite often not be the case. We were lucky enough to have a clear day and so set off at 8am for the 10 hr return trip. This is quite a physically demanding trip with a good level of hiking fitness required (We had 3 people sit it out and 5 of us + the 2 guides ascend) but well worth it to reach the highest peak in South-Western Tasmania for a truly amazing view which takes a 5 day return hiking trip to reach from the main road. Having a decent size water bottle for this journey is essential (which was probably not emphasized enough in our initial briefing). Once you leave camp, there are only a few places to fill up on water from little streams coming from the rocks.
One point about the 7 day expedition is the climb out via Mt McCall. This is a challenging climb and is made even more so by the fact you are carrying all your personal gear out. When we reached the top we were met by the 4wd which brings the 5 day triper’s in as well as some additional supplies and takes the 7 day triper’s out but there was no water for us after this challenging trip. I would recommend to anyone doing the 7 day trip that you discuss with Brett in the meeting the day before your trip about organising for there to be some cold water after this challenging climb.
Overall I would highly recommend the 7 day expedition or the 10 day expedition if you are keen to do the extra 3 nights and complete the expedition by yacht to Strahan.
Visited December 2011, Was this review helpful? Yes 5 ***** read on tripadvisor
Visited March 2011, Was this review helpful? Yes 10 ***** read on tripadvisor