Baldwin Street, located approximately 3.5 kilometers northeast of Dunedin‘s City Centre, is recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as the steepest street in the world.
So naturally when we were in town, making our way to the top of this tourist hotspot was near the peak of our to-do list. We parked our Hertz rental car at the base of Baldwin Street and analysed the task before us, snapping a few photos in the meantime.
Initially Baldwin Street slopes gently before climbing steeply to the intersection at the top. Over the top section it climbs a vertical height of 47.22 meters and on the street’s steepest section, the gradient is 1:2.86 (19° or 35%).
In simpler terms for every 2.86 meters travelled horizontally, the elevation changes by 1 meter. Still not convinced that Baldwin Street is steep? This steepest section is so steep that it’s made from concrete because asphalt would run down the hill on a hot day!
The two of us decided that a brisk walk would be the best way to reach the top and couldn’t help but be amused as a guy passed us on a bicycle, seemingly pedalling with all of his energy for very little progress. He successfully made it but check out the video at the top of this page to see him struggle!
Eventually we reached our goal of making it to the top of Baldwin Street and were rewarded with a seat and a drinking fountain as we took a couple more pictures of the journey we had just made.
Overall, it wouldn’t have taken us more than 10-15 minutes to get all the way to the top of Baldwin Street.
All that was left to do was walk back down and as we made our descent back down Baldwin Street, our legs felt a bit like jelly but we strolled with a smile as other tourists passed us by.
Once we made it back to the bottom of the street, we made sure that we got someone to take the obligatory picture to recognize our achievement.
Baldwin Street is also home to the Cadbury Chocolate Carnival where 30,000 Giant Jaffas are rolled down the street for charity. That’s one event we would love to see! There’s also the annual Baldwin Street Gutbuster, a race to the top and back down again – perfect if you prefer exercise to chocolate but who are you trying to convince!
There’s a gift shop just around the corner where you can purchase a signed certificate that says you made it to the top of Baldwin Street.
Or if you’re like us and don’t want to pay a couple of bucks for a piece of paper, just take a photo of one of the t-shirts and think back fondly to the time you conquered the world’s steepest street.