Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Kiwi climb: Hoofing up the world's steepest street

By Amanda Sealy, CNN
March 4, 2014 -- Updated 2314 GMT (0714 HKT)
Residents of Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand, don't need exercise machines. Walking home is enough. Residents of Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand, don't need exercise machines. Walking home is enough.
HIDE CAPTION
No heels here
Dramatic pitch
Proud, if disputed, title
Raining candy
Race you
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand, holds the Guinness World Record for world's steepest street
  • Or so the town insists -- others dispute the claim
  • Paperboy says going down is actually harder than going up

Editor's note: This month's CNNGo TV adventure explores the gourmet scene, wildlife and breathtaking natural wonders of New Zealand's South Island. More at CNNGo.

(CNN) -- Its claim to fame has been contested, it's been hit by tragedy and it's been photographed by tourists from around the world.

But locals still hold firm to their conviction that Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand, holds the Guinness World Record for being the steepest street in the world, with a 38% grade at its steepest section.

Various sources list Canton Avenue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as the steepest.

The Guinness World Records website lists no record for world's steepest street, and mentions neither Baldwin Street nor Canton Avenue.

Tilted disputes aside, here's what life's like at a slant.

MORE: NZ South Island's 13 prettiest photo ops

Twenty-five thousand balls of chocolate are rolled down the street each year

Every July, thousands of giant Jaffa candies are rolled down the 350-meter-long street in Dunedin's annual Cadbury Jaffa Race.

Each candy is numbered and participants can buy a corresponding ticket and hope their Jaffa will be the winner.

All proceeds go to charity, and participants can wait at the bottom and get free candy.

You may feel guilty having your mail delivered

Kevin Hanifin has been delivering mail on Baldwin Street for the past two years.

He says he's in better shape thanks to the route, and that the adjacent streets are no cakewalk, either, since they're almost as steep.

It's always an entertaining walk, he says, since visitors often stop and talk to him.

While Hanifin prefers to deliver the mail starting at the top of the hill, 17-year-old paperboy Hamish Lilly says going down is actually harder than going up.

There's no exercise like going home

Baldwin Street resident Dave Kernahan, 63, started a weight-loss program after he lost his job and began gaining weight 15 years ago.

His program?

Just going up and down his street.

He runs up and down the street 30 times almost every day -- a total of more than 10 kilometers.

His personal best is 105 times in one day.

MORE: 10 things Canada does better than anywhere else

Tourists come from around the world; residents are over it

When deciding to move to Baldwin Street, Sue Marshall says she wasn't concerned about the grade, but rather the number of tourists who'd be passing her home each day.

"I love meeting people -- you can't really go out of the front gate without meeting someone from across the world," says Marshall.

She figures her husband has already shown up in more than 100 tourist photos while working in their garden, but says she'd be doing the same thing if she were visiting.

Meanwhile, she's only been to the top of her street once and her husband hasn't made it up yet.

There are a few incentives to get to the top

Last year, Dunedin artist Daniel Mead painted a mural at the top of the street.

He says one of the hardest parts about painting it was driving up the hill every day.

"It may have been a better idea to just walk as I think it ruined my car," he says.

There's a rumor that certain residents on Baldwin Street will offer visitors a certificate of completion if they can make the trek.

Some bright soul also installed a drinking fountain.

More: Is New Zealand's Fergburger the best burger joint on the planet?

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 0708 GMT (1508 HKT)
For travelers looking to savor the flavors of real Balinese cuisine, these are the meals to kick things off with.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 0805 GMT (1605 HKT)
Had enough of Kuta? Life ambles along at a more sedate pace at these under-the-radar destinations.
August 13, 2014 -- Updated 0632 GMT (1432 HKT)
In a world where the niche-hip is elevated to cultural elite on a weekly basis, it was probably inevitable: the humble taco truck has gone Hollywood.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 0957 GMT (1757 HKT)
At these favorite LA bars, the drinks come with a chaser of kitsch.
August 13, 2014 -- Updated 1133 GMT (1933 HKT)
Don't order Corona and don't freak out when you see Jessica Alba without makeup, and you might pass for local.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 1440 GMT (2240 HKT)
A sunset in Marrakech
Once a haven for painters seduced by its rich colors, Marrakech is back on track to become a world-leading destination for photographers.
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 0627 GMT (1427 HKT)
Marrakech goats head stew
Snake charmers and storytellers, fact and fantasy are blurred together on Jemaa el Fna, Marrakech's ancient central square.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 0711 GMT (1511 HKT)
A Marrakech lamp bazaar
For those willing to delve deep in the Red City, Marrakech rewards with stunning scenery, unforgettable flavors and luxurious indulgences.
June 18, 2014 -- Updated 1646 GMT (0046 HKT)
Rental bikes in Amsterdam
Pedaling around Europe's busiest cycle city requires steely nerves, sharp eyes and the clunkiest bike you can lay your hands on.
June 25, 2014 -- Updated 1436 GMT (2236 HKT)
The ceiling of the Tuschinski Theater, Amsterdam
Trio of enthusiasts use old boots and springs to revive vintage organ at heart of fabulous art deco movie palace.
June 25, 2014 -- Updated 1437 GMT (2237 HKT)
A scene from the play
Cinematic stage drama immerses audiences in wartime hopes and horrors of tragic young diarist.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 0540 GMT (1340 HKT)
From waterfalls in a forest to the beach haunts of movie stars, a number of scenic day trips are just a few hours' journey from Rio de Janeiro.
May 14, 2014 -- Updated 0937 GMT (1737 HKT)
The daily sucos is a sacred ritual in Rio, a tonic to beat the heat, get a boost of natural vitamins.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1431 GMT (2231 HKT)
milan Duomo
You could be forgiven for thinking that Italy's second city is all about fashion and finance.
April 23, 2014 -- Updated 0918 GMT (1718 HKT)
High-end brands, upwardly mobile people and blue-cheese cocktails -- welcome to Milan's "fashion quadrangle."
ADVERTISEMENT