Queenstown to Franklin River

Verified! Intermediate Wilderness Trip Winter Spring CLASS III


Tasmania’s West Coast.. Approx. 35km South of Queenstown.

Contributed by Michael Lyons


Class: III

Season: Winter or Spring

Time: 2 Days

Length: 22 km

Level: If there is water running under the bridge, it’s runnable

Shuttle: 30km of dirt and a few hours of walking up steep tracks --- 4WD required!

Character: Delightful paddling and portaging through rainforest and shingle banks

Suits: River-running kayaks or open whitewater Canadian canoes

First paddled in the 70's by ‘Mugga’, this river only received its second known descent in 2000. This is a great pity, as it provides excellent access to the Franklin River while being a gorgeous river in itself.

The class is given as class 3 --- the river itself is class 2 but a class 3 section of the Franklin is also part of the trip!

The first couple of hours are not actually on the Andrew, but on Crotty Creek. This is a wonderful drag and slide trip over mossy logs, in a tunnel of overhanging trees and ferns. Once on the Andrew, the only real change is less logs and double the width of river.

The banks are crowded with vegetation and at first one worries about camping, however shingle banks abound and although a little lumpy, provide good camping. The river has a small catchment, which means it should be quite stable.

There are two major features; a cataract on the Crotty and a small gorge on the Andrew. The cataract is easily portaged and the gorge is a lot of fun and also the end of the Andrew and the beginning of the Franklin.

The Franklin River is A MAJOR WILDERNESS RIVER; its height can change by the metre in hours. The take out at Mt McCall is not far past the confluence, but if the Franklin is high, that is very scary water! As such, anyone paddling the Andrew must be paddling class 3 comfortably.

The take out at Mt McCall is on river right; look for a ladder and ropes on a large boulder. This is the beginning of some very hard uphill walking.

Alternatively, you can continue several more days paddling the Franklin and Gordon Rivers to St John’s Falls or Heritage Landing as per Franklin River notes --- ed.

Putting In: Once in Queenstown follow the signs for the dam; it is about 35km to the put in. After the dam the road becomes dirt. Follow this until a long straight section of road. The put in is a little wooden bridge over the creek, which is easily missed!

Taking Out: Continue along the Dam road until it is impossible to go any further (Mt McCall) and leave vehicles here

Camping: There are many shingle banks along the way or nestle in the forest

Entry Date: 7 May 2001


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