Travellers Matthias and Jessica enjoy a welcome cool spot at the Douglas River.
Travellers Matthias and Jessica enjoy a welcome cool spot at the Douglas River. Contributed

Hot springs as excellent as verdelho by German winemaker

OPINION: Matthias the Munich wine maker was lapping up Douglas hot springs on his way from Cairns to Perth with Jessica.

He remembered Maryborough and the region well.

He worked as a winemaker in Vietnam for a few months on his world odyssey.

In Australia over the past six months, he has worked as a porter at Kingfisher Bay and as a winemaker at the Moffatdale Ridge and Clovelly vineyards in the South Burnett.

He remembers with delight doing the city walking tour of Maryborough and walking into the regional produce store at the Customs House Residence.

A woman of German descent picked up on his accent, produced a bottle of Moffatdale and told him with pride that the vineyard had a German wine maker working for them.

"That's me!" exclaimed 30-year-old Matthias, who hit out from Germany to explore the world armed with degrees in economics and wine making.

He met Jessica, a 19-year-old traveller also from Munich, in a Cairns car park and they pooled resources to head west in his four-wheel drive Patrol equipped with bare basics.

Steam rises off the hot stream in Douglas River.
Steam rises off the hot stream in Douglas River.

We gave them a cold beer and Matthias gave us an excellent bottle of Moffatdale verdelho to chill in Isabel's freezer and share as we discussed wine, environmental issues and why the tearing down of the Berlin Wall was an emotional news event but not a terrific economic move for West Germany.

A steadier integration of the two Germanies would have avoided downturn in the wealthy West when millions of East Germans landed on the Bonn welfare lists.

It would also have allowed East Germans companies time to adapt to capitalism instead of faltering and being taken over by West corporations.

Heavy stuff at the relaxing hot springs that proved as excellent as the verdelho.

Three streams converge at the junction of the Douglas River, one hot, one cold and one warm.

You can pick a pool along the pandanus-lined sands with the temperature to suit.

National Parks runs the camp at the springs, about 30km to the west of the Stuart Hwy, 130km north of Katherine and 200km south of Darwin.

Douglas Springs was better than expected and we set off along the four-wheel drive track to Butterfly Gorge, about 16km further up the track.

That proved below expectations as the butterflies had decamped.

We surmised they might have been driven out by the heat and long dry season but made a note to find out when they return.

We have already ticked off Douglas Springs for a return visit so no doubt we will make that trek to the gorge again when we wander that way again and the butterflies are returned.

NANCY Bates, who is travelling with husband Tony in Isabel the Global Warrior, reports from the trail of the grey momads. For more travel yarns, check