The Steepest Street in the World

Baldwin Street, in Dunedin, New Zealand, is considered the world’s steepest residential street, according to the Guiness Book of World Records.

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A short straight street a little under 350 metres (1,150 ft) long, with an average slope of slightly more than 1:5. Its lower reaches are only moderately steep, and the surface is asphalt, but the upper reaches of this street are far steeper, and surfaced in concrete for ease of maintenance and for safety in Dunedin’s frosty winters. 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. At its maximum, the slope of Baldwin Street is about 1:2.86 (19° or 35%). That is, for every 2.86 metres travelled horizontally, the elevation changes by 1 metre.

The street is the venue for an annual event in Dunedin, the Baldwin Street Gutbuster, which  involves athletes running from the base of the street to the top and back down again. The event attracts several hundred competitors annually, and as of 2008 the record is 1:56 minutes, set in 1998.

The annual Jaffa race, which is part of the Cadbury Chocolate Festival involves the rolling of over 30,000 from the top of the street. Each Jaffa is sponsored by one person, with prizes to the winner and funds raised going to charity.

We had fun rolling Jaffa’s down the hill. Not all of them reached the bottom, and many of them just happened to get eaten…

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