Paddling The Wilderness Waterway, USA
The Florida Everglades are a watery labyrinth designed by a god who clearly enjoyed a spot of canoeing. Paddling the Everglades' every bend could occupy a lifetime, which makes the Wilderness Waterway as much a relief as an adventure. This 159km paddling route threads along the Everglades' western edge, winding through the 10,000 Islands and briefly into the Gulf of Mexico. Campground and camping platforms are no more than 15km apart, and you'll share your journey with alligators, dolphins and manatees. If you need a canoe or kayak, they can be hired in Everglades City. Expect to paddle for about nine days.
Rafting the Franklin River, Australia
Though Tasmania's Franklin River isn't far from the city of Hobart, it remains among the world's most remote and pristine rafting waterways. Once you launch from below the Lyell Hwy, you're all but committed to eight days and 100km of rough-and-ready river travel until the Franklin finally spits your inflatable raft into the Gordon River. Blanketed by the impenetrable forest of the Word Heritage-listed Tasmanian Wilderness, the journey morphs from the haunting stillness of the Irenabyss to the fury of the 5km-long Great Ravine, which boils with invitingly named rapids such as the Cauldron, Thunderush and the Churn.
Canoeing the Bowron Lake Circuit, Canada
Set beneath the Mowdish and Cariboo Ranges, Bowron Lake Provincial Park offers one of the world's finest canoe journeys. The renowned canoe circuit in British Columbia crosses through 10 lakes and paddles along three rivers in its 116km course. The circuit takes between six and 10 days, and numbers are strictly limited, so paddling reservations are essential. A shorter (three to four days) alternative is the West Side return route from Bowron Lake to Unna Lake. The circuit can be paddled from mid-May to mid-October; September is considered the best month because of the vivid displays of autumn colour.
Dugout canoe on the Sepik River, Papua New GuineaFlowing more than 1000km from its source in the PNG highlands to the Bismarck Sea, the mighty Sepik River is navigable for much of its length. Motorboats ply most of the trade routes along the river, but for visitors the most popular and most redolent mode of river travel is by dugout motor-canoe, puttering between villages on the Middle Sepik or among its lakes and tributaries. The best place to arrange Sepik travel is in Wewak, while on the river itself you'll be able to find motor-canoes for hire at Ambunti, Pagwi and Angoram.