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September 2009




today I want to tell you about my work. As you might know I am driving often from Dunedin to Queenstown and back again, all together around 650 km (420 miles).

I get up at 8/8.15 am. If you say that is late wait and see how the day goes on and when it will end. After I had a shower I prepare my food for lunch and my "coffeebreak". At 9.15 am I have to go down to the depot, it is a 5 minute drive. There I load the van. First the item in our bin/bay for the Central Run (the official name of our run) and then, maybe around 9.45 am or later, the parcels and  the other stuff (for example flowers) the different drivers bring in from the town runs. Beside me/us there are 2 other drivers leaving at the same time, one is going to Invercargill (south) and the other one goes to Timaru, that is towards Christchurch (to the north).


This is my equipment, the scanner, the barcoade with the run number and, of course, Billy my opossum, he has to go with me, always! Unfortunately he was not looking for the speed I was doing carefully enough just a few weeks ago and the police caught me speeding. Quite expensive here (170 NZD that's around 85 Euros). For just 22 km/h to much and that on a straight country road.

Here now everybody who is around in the depot at the time we are there. On the left John, the bright shining man is Dave, he helps to unload the arriving vans, the next one is Jason, he is going to Invercargill and on the right Kevin and he goes to Timaru.
10 am is starting time - but most it is 10 - 15 minutes later, time that's missing later on the run. The van is loaded and now it is time to leave. First stop is East Taieri, just out of Dunedin, approximately there where the blue line starts. There I meet Steve to give him some parcels for Mosgiel and Outram and in return I get items for Central and Invercargill.
The items for Invercargill I take down to Milton. After a wee detour to 2 customers at the intersection to the airport I drive on to Milton. Here I meet Jo, beside the stuff for Milton I leave also the items for Invercargill with Jo who gives it to Jason. He goes the same road like I do only 15 minutes later. Even though we start at the same time he is behind me because he has another pick up in town and deliveries in Waihola.

As you can see the vans are not always spick and span

From Milton I am going to Lawrence. Here I have to deliver parcels for the first time a day, the whole main road up and down (or better both sides at once fore I have to go out of the town toward the next). I took the picture from the petrol station in Lawrence. It is placed in the middle (centre!) of the town. Every place with more then 3 houses is called a town. Lawrence is smaller then Curslack so after German measurement it would be a village. But the top of all is Millers Flat. At the Highway is a direction sign to "Millers FlatsTownship". After you have cross the Clutha (over a one lane bridge, of course, what else) you reach the locality with approximately 20 houses, a camping area, a "supermarket" sort Mom-and-Pop Grocery store (the farmer can buy the essential groceries there but not more), a school and a swimming pool only for the summer but that is something nearly every "town" has got here.


Here the "metropolis" Lawrence, pic 1 the direction I am coming from, pic 2 where I go.

 After some stop over’s in Beaumont (here I have to cross the Clutha for the first time. New Zealand’s river carrying the most water before the government had the idea to built 2 hydro dams for power production), Millers Flat and Ettrick I come to Roxburgh. By the way, in Ettrick are the companies ENZA and C.A.J. (van der Voort). If you buy some apple from NZ have a look at the label. I am sure you will find both. It took me a while to remember where I knew the label from.

Here are now two pictures from Roxburgh. A town similar to Lawrence and just so exciting but a bit bigger (I guess)

After I have finished the deliveries in Roxburgh I carry on to Alexandra. The road to Alexandra is built over (?) a kind of high plateau. So you have to climb up first. Usually the van climbs up the hill quite easily but here I have to change gears down to the 5th sometimes to the 4th gear, depending on the weight of the freight. But in return I have a wonderful look over the canyon of the Clutha. But it is better to watch the road. The fences are not very stable here so it might happen that suddenly there are sheep on the road, often right behind a corner. Thank God mainly the sheep just at the green land beside the road and graze. Perhaps they prefer grass with the taste of car emission. But I don't want to be a sheep here. In summer and winter on the grassland, no stable. In Central are hardly any trees or bushes for shade und with a sheepskin (even after shearing in spring) 25 degree in the shade are really hot, especially if there is no shade.     

In Alexandra I drive to the depot, here I meet with Dave, sometimes also Gavin (also called Old Gavin). I have to unload  all the freight for Alexandra here, Ranfurly and all the places between Alex and Ranfurly like Omakau and all parcels for Roxburgh, Ettrick and Millers Flat I have not delivered (I only go to 5 - 6 places in Roxburgh, the rest is for Gavin, order from the branch manager in Dunedin).


That is Dave in Alexandra
After I have finished unloading and loading in Alexandra I move on to Cromwell. Sometimes I have deliver thing to the hospital in Clyde then I have to drive a wee detour. The road to Cromwell follows the Clutha. There is a hydro dam at Clyde but only beyong Cromwell is enough space for the water to create a lake (look at Google Earth, there is a feature street view so you can have a look from the road not only from above). In Cromwell is a bigger depot. From here the runs to Cromwell, Wanaka and also to Ranfurly start.
On the pics above: Allan and Kerry, Kerry goes to Wanaka, Sam (Cromwell) and Sams daughter, she is nearly every day with him (surely she will become a courier driver later).
From Cromwell I am going to Queenstown through the Kawarau Gorge, I already wrote about it (see July 2009). Here I  eventually deliver parcels for Gold Field Jet. Next possible deliveries are in Gibbson Valley which has a lot of vineyards. You can also test the wine right at the producers place. At the end or the beginning (depending on the direction you are coming from) is A. J. Hackert, the place where the first commercial Bungy Jump ever took place and a tourist attraction now, of course.


There are always maniacs who jump down here
Then I am going to Arrowtown, a cute little town, unfortunately I have no picture of it but I have to drive. I pick up a bag at the pharmacy with films to develop and at some other places parcels if necessary. Arrowtown was founded during the gold rush in Otago (around 1900) and you still can find gold in the Kawarau, the Shotover or the Arrow River if you are lucky (there are some old gold miner houses at Goldfield Jet and you can also try your luck and wash gold). After 2 - 3 stop over (veterinary, dental technician and architect office) I finally drive on to Queenstown. It is 3 am now, sometimes later, depending on how much I have to deliver in the Gorge. First to the depot and unload, for the first time since I left Dunedin everything goes out, the van is empty. What make Gavin (the other one, he is from Wales, what makes thing a bit difficult, sometimes I don't understand him and he does not understand me. German - Welsh can be difficult) glad is a lot of copy paper. Mainly he has to deliver it, to hotels or the police and they don't do it under 6 -7 boxes.......
On the left Aaron (the guy with the sunglasses and the short hair) then Gavin, in the middle Sarah. Sarah is always there if you need help and I help her too and on the right Todd, Todd is coming from Invercargill and simply chaotic as you can see - the boxes in his car..........
When I leave the depot I have to drive into town. Here I have to pick up another photo bag and an aluminium suitcase with x-ray picture for Dunedin. Then I go to the police to pick up the mail and also another DX-bag at Cartridge world. DX is the rival business to NZ Post. Then I have a break, if I am lucky 20 minutes, mostly less. At 4.15 pm I have to start again, the mail bag from the ANZ (at the lake, nice spot) then again a wee break, 5 minutes or less. Then the hunt is on. Starting at 4.30 pm I have to pick up the bank bags (cheques and all the other paperwork from the bank), SBS, ASB (both nearly always ready) National, BNZ (I often have to wait for one of then) and at the end Westpac, who are never ready if I am there at 4.40 pm what is the pick up time. Then back to Frankton (a suburb of Queenstown here is the depot) to pick up the parcel from the lab, it is the collection place for the parcels which have to go to Dunedin and were picked up after 3.30 pm. And two chilly bins with blood, one for Dunedin and one for Christchurch. Then back to Cromwell, unload every item that is not going to Dunedin or Dunedin area and load the freight for Dunedin, which was picked up from the other couriers in Cromwell and Wanaka. The bank bags and the photo bags will be counted here because there are also bags coming from Wanaka, Cromwell, Alexandra and Ranfurly. Most of the time I have to wait for Danny, Danny comes from Ranfurly and has a bank bag, a photo bag and a chilly bin with blood on board which has to go to Dunedin the same day (parcels would not be that important).

Here are Ross and Dough, both help me a lot in Cromwell, scanning, unloading and loading..... As you can see both are afraid of the camera. It seems to be a wide spread disease in Central.

How you might guess the way back now is just like it was going up (only backwards). In Cromwell I get two chilly bins for Clyde (short for Dunstan Hospital in Clyde), again to the hospital, unload the two bins and sometimes some x-ray picture. They never heard about data security here, every courier driver can have a look at the picture and the name of the patient is written an the bag, load 2 other bins and another suitcase with x-rays, twice or three times a weeks red bags for the blood bank in Dunedin and then continuing to Alexandra. Stop at the Mobil Station, pick up a plastic bag with blood from the St. Johns (will be put in a bin later), pick up two more bank bags and then carrying on to Roxburgh. Don't forget to change the run number (there are two, one for the Dunedin-Central run, ends/starts in Roxburgh and on for the Alexandra-Queentown run). In Roxburgh first to the medical centre to pick up, right, a blood bin, then to the pharmacy, another photo bag and being at Robb’s Garage before 7.00 pm. Here I have to look for more parcels (often there are none) and scan the bank bags onboard again, important for EDS in Dunedin.
And now Ettrick, Millers Flat (looking if the sign from Bentley Brother is out, another pick up then) the hills of Beaumont, Lawrence. Here is another photo bag to pick up at the pharmacy. Then finally none stop back to Dunedin. Here John is waiting for me. He takes the blood bins and delivers it to the lab in the hospital, also the bags for the blood bank. I go to EDS and deliver the bank bag, here it will be controlled again. Every bag has a number, belonging to a bank branch, if it is there - tick in the corresponding box on the paper sheet. Then I go to the depot, unload every item that’s still on board and wait for John. He comes back from the hospital with two (empty) chilly bins. Then we can go home. It is 9 pm maybe 9.15 pm now......
Of course you cannot do that without mistakes and then you can only hope that the parcel is not important, if it is, it has to be delivered by a taxi and that will be quite expensive. And the courier has to pay for it because he made the mistake.....
July 2014 - I am really glad I do not have to do it anymore! Being back in my office as secretatry is better.




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