Baldwin Street

Known for its colossal mountains, rough seas and wild rivers, New Zealand is also home to the world’s steepest residential street.

Put your legs to the test as you climb the almost impossibly steep road to the summit of Baldwin Street. Rest at the top and enjoy views across the city and parkland. Then make your way back to town for a well-earned drink.

The world’s steepest street may be this unassuming residential road in Dunedin. Measuring 350 metres (1,150 feet) in length, the road rises a total of 70 metres (230 feet) to a height of 100 metres (328 feet) above sea level. The maximum gradient is 19 degrees near the top of the road. At this point you go upward 1 metre (3 feet) with every 3 metres (9 feet) you travel horizontally.

Marvel at the absurdity of such a steep road as you approach Baldwin Street. The man responsible for the impractical design was surveyor Charles Kettle who laid out grid patterns without considering the location of the road on the northern face of Signal Hill.

Start to make your way up and notice that the street is made from concrete. It was thought that the tar used in the asphalt on other city streets would become too slippery during the winter and would melt and run on hot summer days.

Once you finally reach the summit look for the small water fountain for a refreshing drink. Take a minute to relax and gaze back down the hill toward the charming woodland of Chingford Park.

The descent can be just as tough on the legs as the climb. To make it somewhat easier, take the steps carved alongside the road where a footpath would usually be.

If you are in town during September be sure to attend the Baldwin Street Gutbuster. More than 1,000 entrants compete in a brutal race to the top and back down the road. Join the crowds and watch or enter the race yourself if you are feeling energetic. Baldwin Street is approximately 5 kilometres (3 miles) northeast of central Dunedin.