Old School Trucks: South Otago Transport

By: Dean Middleton, Photography by: Dean Middleton


South Otago Transport A classic-looking International S-line spreader pictured pulling a two-axle trailer South Otago Transport
South Otago Transport Mitsubishi’s featured heavily in the fleet throughout the ’80s and ’90s South Otago Transport
South Otago Transport A six-wheeler dropsider pictured at home base back in the early ’90s South Otago Transport
South Otago Transport A pair of near-identical Mitsubishi Shogun frontline line livestock units was added to the fleet in 1989 South Otago Transport
South Otago Transport The sister truck South Otago Transport
South Otago Transport A later model 400hp twin turbo Mitsi pictured having a rest break in Christchurch in the mid-’90s South Otago Transport
South Otago Transport A change of livery in the early 2000s modernised the look of the fleet South Otago Transport
South Otago Transport Fertiliser spreading is challenging in the rolling hills of the South Otago landscape South Otago Transport
South Otago Transport A Mack Quantum primarily on livestock work South Otago Transport
South Otago Transport The Isuzu brand has gained some prominence in the South Otago fleet South Otago Transport
South Otago Transport Isuzus have also made inroads into sister company CVT South Otago Transport
South Otago Transport A later model Giga 460 tipper South Otago Transport
South Otago Transport And the sister company with a near identically spec’d truck South Otago Transport
South Otago Transport The Freightliner influence in the CVT fleet is carried over to… South Otago Transport
South Otago Transport … the South Otago fleet, which also runs Freightliner Argosys South Otago Transport
South Otago Transport One of the latest Freightliners to join the fleet was this HPMV livestock unit South Otago Transport
South Otago Transport Late 2016 saw the arrival of this newest model Euro 5 Isuzu South Otago Transport
South Otago Transport The relationship between the two companies is obvious as this Balclutha yard shot shows back in 2013 South Otago Transport
South Otago Transport Two frontline Livestock units from the sister companies also parked at the Balclutha depot in late 2017 South Otago Transport

South Otago Transport have long specialised in all aspects of rural transport, from livestock cartage to fertiliser spreading

Lying near the end of the mighty Clutha River, Balclutha is the biggest town in South Otago, boasting a population of a touch over 4000 people.

Nestled about halfway between Dunedin and Invercargill on State Highway 1, Balclutha is also the home of South Otago Transport.

The South Otago region is rich in luscious rolling green hill country, making it a farming mecca in the area. Enter South Otago Transport, who have long specialised in all aspects of rural transport, from livestock cartage to fertiliser spreading.

The International brand was common in the fleet back in the ’70s and early ’80s, however, when I first photographed South Otago Transport trucks back in the late ’80s and ’90s, Mitsubishis dominated the dark green and cream liveried fleet.

Fast forward a decade or so and sister company Clutha Valley Transport from Clydevale (some 30km inland and upriver from Balclutha) entered the fray and truck brand loyalty became apparent in both fleets, which remains to this day.

In more recent times, Freightliners and Isuzus have dominated both fleets, and this is apparent on any weekend visit past the Balclutha depot where both brands are lined up side by side.  

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