This post may contain affiliate links to tours and hotels. These help us earn a small commission at no additional charge to you.
Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand lays claim to being the steepest street in the world, and has shiny Guinness Book of Records certificate to back up this accolade.
Guinness says the 161.2 metres of Baldwin’s upper-most section “…climbs a vertical height of 47.22m, an average gradient of 1 in 3.41. On its steepest section, the gradient is 1 in 2.86”. We aren’t entirely what this all means but what we can say is, it is STEEP! You definitely get a good work out, climbing up the hill tall the way to the top.
Due to how sharp the incline is, you have to park at the foot of the hill and then make the walk up – even the hill’s residents have had to construct level drives and carports off the road as the street is just too steep to leave a car parked safely on.
Given the parking situation and in an attempt to visit Baldwin Street without too many other tourists (it is becoming very popular with cruise ship passengers), we visited early one Saturday morning, around 7.30am so we could have the street to ourselves and also hopefully enjoy some sunrise vistas.
Our plan generally worked, but we did encounter one tour bus towards the end of our visit. We’d recommend allowing about 30 mins to visit – 10 mins to walk up, 10 mins to catch your breath at the top and then the remainder to walk back down and then treat yourself to a ice-cream at the bottom (the latter is optional!).
YOU MIGHT LIKE: Christchurch to Dunedin road trip – a 5 day itinerary
At the top of the hill, there is a nice decorative bench where you can sit, along with some interpretive panels which tell you more about the area and history of the street. The views are the top are quite something, especially at sunrise. If you fancy staying on Baldwin Street, there is also a B&B located half way up.
Like the L&P drink, Baldwin Street is ‘world famous in New Zealand’, often for people attempting to traverse it in the most crazy way possible (the latest trend is to use the cities new Lime Scooters on it).
Stories of roller-skating and pogo sticks are also common place. It used to hold an annual Cadbury Jaffa orange roll, whereby thousands of round sweets would be released from the top and bounce all the way down the hill (this has stopped since the Cadbury factory closed in Dunedin). The hill isn’t without its dangers as tragically, a student died in 2001 when she hit a parked trailer while riding a green wheelie bin down the street.
Most recently Baldwin Street has been in the news as there was a counterclaim by the steep Welsh street of Pen Ffordd Llech in June 2019 to take the title of ‘World’s Steepest Street’ in the Guinness Book of Records. This was temporarily successful, but Baldwin Street was reinstated back as the record holder in April 2020 after an appeal and extensive review.
YOU MIGHT LIKE – Things to do in Dunedin, New Zealand – travel guide
More New Zealand blog posts
- Things to do in Queenstown, New Zealand
- A day trip to Milford Sound, New Zealand
- Things to do in Hanmer Springs, New Zealand
- Queenstown itinerary – the perfect 5 day itinerary
- 20 best places to visit in New Zealand’s south island
- Hooker Valley Track Mount Cook, everything you need to know
- A Guide to Arrowtown, New Zealand
- Visiting the Moeraki Boulders, South Island
- Steampunk HQ Gallery in Oamaru
- Visiting the Monteith’s brewery in Greymouth
Watch our New Zealand South Island video
Did you enjoy our Baldwin Street blog post? Let us know in the comments or by sharing the blog on social media.