World’s Steepest Street - on a roll in Baldwin Street, Dunedin 

Once a year the steepest street in the world, Baldwin Street becomes awash with colour for the annual Jaffa Race.

Dunedin New Zealand looks pretty sedate from the outside - a UNESCO City of Literature full of stern Edwardian and Victorian architecture and home to New Zealand’s oldest university – but on the inside it holds a few secrets. 

It’s arranged on a magnificent harbour, pretty as a picture and a haven for marine wildlife, and settled on hills tumbling steeply into the sea from the highest suburbs of the country’s fifth largest city.  

This South Island city is also home to a lesser known landmark, a world record holder and something quite out of the ordinary. In an unassuming suburban neighbourhood, Baldwin Street holds the coveted title of the world’s steepest street.

On Baldwin Street, on any day of the week, visitors can be found in the weirdest of positions taking quirky photos for their social feeds while locals jog (or slog) past on their morning run. Dunedin locals are proud of their famous street and each year there are events that showcase the vertiginous icon. 

But, undoubtedly the biggest day of the year on Baldwin Street, is when Dunedin’s Jaffa Race takes place as the flagship event of the Cadbury Chocolate Carnival. 

 

To download video files and more images please click here.

Jaffas - for the record - are a unique New Zealand sweet made of dark chocolate encased in a hard orange shell and Kiwis eat millions of them every year. On race day, thousands of cheering onlookers line the street to watch another 75,000 Jaffas roll down the hill competing to be the first in the winner’s slot – a sea of red and the roar of the crowd. 

Fast Facts: Baldwin Street, Dunedin

  • A mere 350 metres (1,150 ft) long.
  • Rises from 30 m (98 ft) above sea level  to 100 m (330 ft) above sea level at the top.
  • The 161.2-metre-long (529 ft) top section climbs 47.2 metres (155 ft) vertically, an average gradient of 1:3.41.
  • At its maximum, about 70 metres (230 ft) below the top, the slope of Baldwin Street is about 38°.
  • For every 2.86 metres travelled horizontally, the elevation changes by 1 metre.

Fast Facts: Dunedin

  • With a land area of 3,314.8 square kilometres (1,279.9 sq mi) Dunedin is the world’s fifth largest city in geographical size.
  • Dunedin is the Celtic name for Edinburgh.
  • A UNESCO City of Literature, Dunedin is home to New Zealand’s oldest university.
  • The Otago Peninsula is home to the world’s rarest penguin - the yellow-eyed penguin; the world’s rarest sea lion - the New Zealand sea lion; New Zealand fur seals, little blue penguins and the royal albatross.
  • Larnach Castle located on the Otago Peninsula is New Zealand’s grandest castle.