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Picture 34 suburban houses along a small street. Now you are probably thinking that this is just another street found anywhere in suburbia. Baldwin Street is no ordinary street and has surprised many who have visited. This is one place where you do have to have the utmost sympathy for the postman who does their daily drop. You may ask why? The sign at the beginning of the street gives you some indication. “the worlds steepest street” Dunedin’s Baldwin Street is listed in the Guinness Book of records as being the steepest street in the world. A 30m stretch of tar seal and concrete climbs 69.2m at a gradient of 1m in 2.86m. In simpler terms, this means that for every 2.86m travelled horizontally you will vertically climb 1 metre. It is so steep that the steepest part can not be sealed with asphalt. In fact when it was designed, specially grooved concrete was used to enable car tyres to grip the road so residents could get up to their homes.
There are many ways you can experience this well known attraction in Dunedin. Running, walking or even crawling are the main ways to climb this testing incline. You have the choice of 270 steps on the right side of the road where you will find a railing that will assist you on your hike up or for the more hardy, an concrete inclined path on the left that will really test the lactic threshold of your calf muscles and body for that matter. If you are cringing at the thought of this, think about how many people feel when they participate in the annual Gutbuster event. The name speaks for itself. Participants take part in a run of sorts that crowns the fastest person to the top and back down to the bottom.
If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, then maybe the sight of thousands of Jaffas* racing down Baldwin St during the Cadbury Chocolate Carnival in July each year will excite you, especially if your Jaffa is the first one home.
Baldwin Street, a must for all visitors to Dunedin.
*Jaffas are a New Zealand lolly (sweet or candy) which have a hard orange-flavoured shell in casing a ball of milk chocolate. They have a proud history of being bowled down movie theatre aisles during the boring bits.
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