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Dalliance in Dover

Boats in the Harbour, people on the beach

I am talking about Dover, Tasmania, not the one of UK fame, though there is a tenuous link. It is said that the pier of the original Dover was built from Huon Pine exported from here. Our Dover (pop. 862) is a pretty little fishing village about 81 Km south of Hobart.  It is Australia’s most southerly township and about the last place where you can buy supplies before heading to places such as Ida Bay, Hastings Caves or Cockle Creek. 

Begun as a convict station in around 1840- 1844, it became an important timber supplier to the
world until the First World War, though one mill survived until the 1970's. Other mainstays of the region such as orcharding and fishing also had their ups and downs. Serious apple growing went into a decline when the UK joined the European Common Market and Dover’s busy fishing fleet gradually diminished as modern technology increased catches and laid waste to the seemingly endless supplies of scallops, couta and crayfish.

Busy stalls line the foreshore

 Since then, Dover has largely reinvented itself as a tourist and retirement destination, though a small number of fishing boats as clean and sleek as its population of seagulls continues to occupy its picturesque harbour. Quaint cottages dot the hillsides and offer a variety of accommodation and activities. Further along Esperance Bay there are fish farms which have taken up some of the slack left by the traditional fishery.  Adamson’s Peak looking rather like a  movie prop because of its near pyramidal shape, fills in the backdrop in the West.

Seafest revellers

It's definitely a family occasion

Today we are here for Seafest an annual celebration which includes a regatta. The weather is perfect. The co -mingled smells of fish and barbecues fill the air. Though the main focus is on seafood, stalls offer everything from local wines and cider to locally made crafts. Children take to the beach and the bouncy castle, while music is supplied by a couple performing on the flatbed of a truck.  Further along the beach eager supporters urge on competitors in what looks like a three boat race. My friend goes in search of scallops, pride of the region. We share a puffin muffin, which is actually a very well filled and messy cream puff and then we both have some satay sticks because the aroma is too tantalising to resist.

We did - home of the puffin muffin

Thus fortified we do a pleasant walk along the beach and then attempt another at the end of the nearby Narrows Road which unfortunately ends in a heavy duty gate. Still, the drive home through the Huon Valley with its turning leaves and orchards bursting with ripening fruit, more than makes up for it.

Apples ready to harvest
Too perfect - Adamson's peak presides over fishing boats and pleasure craft