Baldwin Street, AKA the world’s steepest street, is a strange tourist attraction in suburban Dunedin. Walking up Baldwin Street isn’t too hard and it’s worth it to see an obscure world record. There are also good views of Dunedin’s green surrounds from the top.
Update September 2019: Baldwin Street lost its crown to some street in Wales! It’s still worth a visit though, and you could still say it’s the steepest city street in the world!
The World’s Steepest Street
It looks like the word is well and truly out about Dunedin’s gradient based claim to fame (it is worth noting that it only holds the record for the world’s steepest residential street). There were heaps of tourists trudging to the top when we visited, stopping for photos every now and then. It’s a weird scene and it must annoy the people who actually live on Baldwin Street. It’s good to see people enjoying it though — it’s a great example of the unique things on offer in Dunedin, all of which combine to make it New Zealand’s most interesting city.
Walking up (and back down) Baldwin Street only takes 10 – 15 minutes and there a few interesting things to look out for. One is this house (see the photo below, there are obviously others though) which, when photographed, shows how steep this street really is. At the top there’s a cool seat as well as a small plaque commemorating Iain Clark’s feat of rollerskating up Baldwin Street. I’m not sure how that would work but it sounds tiring.
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And that’s about it. At the end of the day it is just a street, but the views, and the fact that you’ll probably never see a steeper street in your lifetime, make it well worth a visit. Oh, there’s also a gift shop one street over — it’s a bit weird that it’s not actually on Baldwin Street but I guess people need to cash in when they get a chance.
Getting to Baldwin Street
If you’re coming from the centre of town head past the Dunedin Botanical Gardens and keep driving along North Road. Keep a look out on the right — you’ll probably notice the cafe and gift shop first. From Baldwin Street you could then drive to Mount Cargill and the other sights on the “other” side of the harbour, including Orokonui Ecosanctuary, Port Chalmers and Heyward Point.
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