A small fishing port with quaint cottages and English trees, it was once a convict station. Dover is an important centre for both apple orchards and the salmon, abalone and cray fishing industries.
Where is it?
83 km south west of Hobart, in the Huon Valley. Dover lies beside the waters of Esperance Bay and the D'Entrecasteaux Channel, with the imposing figure of Adamson's Peak in the background.
Dover enjoys a moderate climate, sheltered from the prevailing cold winds by Bruny Island, and is frequented by tourists keen to experience the idyllic coastal scenery or those eager to explore the deep wilderness further south.
In and around Dover there is a good array of services, including banking, post office, newsagent, bakery, pharmacy, takeaway, supermarkets, mechanic/service station, wood fired' pizza restaurant, hotel, laundromat, hardware, real estate, hairdresser, online access centre, sailing club, golf course, cellar door/gallery and most types of accommodation including a well located caravan park on the beachfront, a variety of clean, comfortable bed & breakfasts, backpacker, hotel/motel, and selection of nicely appointed self contained apartments.
Casey's Living Steam Museum combines an excellent display of old steam engines with a small display on the local apple industry, a display connected with the timber industry and particularly the huon pine, and a section on the history of Dover with an old bark hut.
A trip out to three islands in the bay named Faith, Hope and Charity is recommended. The three islands were named perhaps to inspire the convicts held at the original probation station. The smallest of the three islands in Esperance Bay, Faith Island, was known in earlier times as Dead Island. When the Dover Convict Probation Station was in use between late 1844 and 1848, numerous convicts were buried here, hence its early name.
The town's locality was named Port Esperance by the French explorer, Admiral Bruni D'Entrecasteaux, who charted the area in 1792. Dover was originally established as a convict probation station. Here, inmates transitioned to the status of a pass-holder, eligible to be assigned to employers and earn wages while still serving their time in the penal system. There is now little evidence of the town's penal past. All that remains is the well preserved (and privately owned) Commandant's Office which is located next to the Caravan Park on Beach Road.
Dover can legitimately claim to be the southern most town of significance in Australia. There are villages further south but Dover is the last place where you can buy petrol and supplies. Some of the villages on Bruny Island are further south and, inevitably, there is a long standing argument between the hotel in Alonnah on Bruny Island and the Dover Hotel as to which is the most southern hotel in Australia.
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The Huon Trail
The Huonville Trail, driving south from Huonville and following the left bank of the Huon River and Estuary, is rewarding. It passes through numerous small towns on the way to Recherche Bay and Cockle Creek (76 km south), the most southerly point in Australia that can be reached by motor vehicle.
This drive is part of the Huon Trail, which travels south from Hobart to the Huon Valley and D'Entrecasteaux regions.
The regional features include the Hastings Caves, where there is also a delightful swimming pool fed by natural thermal springs, the Ida Bay scenic railway and the Hastings Forest and Cockle Creek tour on Australia's southernmost road.
Hartz Mountains National Park
Hartz Mountains National Park is a window into the south-west wilderness, offering views of remote mountain ranges as far as the southern coast. As well as spectacular views of a landscape which has been shaped by glaciers during past ice ages, the park offers a variety of unique features. Waterfalls tumble off the dolerite range that runs through the centre of the park and small glacial lakes dot the plateau. There are a number of walking tracks and nature trails in the park and the Arve Loop Road, which leads to the park, passes through some of the most dramatic rainforest country in Australia. The park is included in Tasmania's Wilderness World Heritage Area.