Fotoeins Fotografie

the visible wor(l)d, between Canada & Germany
Baldwin Street, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

Dunedin’s Baldwin Street: steepest in the world

In Dunedin, New Zealand, make your way from the city centre, around the University of Otago to North Road, and onwards to Baldwin Street, where The Guinness Book of Records declared the latter street as “the steepest (street) in the world” in 1997. With this claim to fame, the street is touted as a place to visit in Dunedin. Anybody who’s spent time in San Francisco should take the challenge and find out whether the ascent grade on Baldwin Street approaches or exceeds their experience in the American city by the Bay.

The signage states:

Initially, Baldwin Street slopes gently from the valley floor, then climbs steeply to its intersection with Buchanan Street at the top.

Over the 161.2 metre length of the top section, it climbs a vertical height of 47.22 metres, which is an average gradient of 1 in 3.41 (29%).

On its steepest section, the gradient is 1 in 2.86 (35%).

Every year, during Dunedin’s Festival, large number of athletes, including family groups, take part in social and competitive foot races to the top of the street and return. These races are known as the BALDWIN STREET GUTBUSTER.

The street is named for William Baldwin, who carried out the original subdivision. Baldwin was a member of the Otago Provincial Council, and founder of the “Otago Guardian” newspaper in 1873.

The conclusion is generally the same among those who visit; I’ll say with absolute certainty that walking, let alone running, up a grade steeper than 30 percent is tough slogging. If I’ve done my trigonometry correctly, that’s between 15 and 20 degrees of inclination.

Baldwin Street, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

Baldwin Street, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

Baldwin Street, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

Baldwin Street, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

Baldwin Street, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

Baldwin Street, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

Baldwin Street, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

Baldwin Street, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

Baldwin Street, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

To reach Baldwin Street, it’s an easy walk from the Central Business District (i.e., “City”) to the northern parts of town. A quicker alternative from The Octagon in Dunedin is the number 9 or 9A bus northbound (City to Normanby) to stop “North Road”; check the route schedules online here and select “Normanby” from the drop-down menu.

I made the above photos on 28 July 2012. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-2Pw.

5 Responses to “Dunedin’s Baldwin Street: steepest in the world”

    • fotoeins

      Hi, C. I agree; watching chocos or marbles rolling down this street would be loads fun, especially if we had friendly bets on whose marbles would first reach the bottom. I must admit that I was surprised by how cool (and gut-busting) this little steep hill is; I’m glad I made my way out of Dunedin’s CBD to visit Baldwin Street. Thanks again for your comment, C!

      Like

  1. Mike N

    I rode my motorcycle up to the top once All I can say is that turning around at the top was very scary. First and only time. If you walk, she’s a hard slog to the top. Coming down is not much fun either.

    Like

    Reply
    • fotoeins

      Hi, Mike. I walked from the bottom all the way to the top; tough slog on foot, as you said. Watching some of the vehicles attempt and make it to the top was a little amusing, too, considering some of the sounds those cars were making. Thanks for stopping by and for your comment!

      Like

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