The Franklin River lies in the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park at the mid northern area of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Its source is situated at the western edge of the Central Highlands and it continues west towards the West Coast of Tasmania. It was named after an earlier Governor of that state, Sir John Franklin, who later died searching for theNorthwest Passage.

In the 1980s, the Franklin River become synonymous with Australia’s largest conservation battle of the time, the movement to save the Franklin from the Hydro Tasmania proposed hydro-electric power scheme.

The focus on the dam and the issues of wilderness experience led to the development of people utilising the river at levels never previously experienced.