Important updates about travelling to the Steepest Street In The World

Posted on 22/07/2019 by Spaceships Crew

If you’re planning to visit the steepest street in the world on your upcoming road trip, we have some important updates for you. There’s news and there’s good news. No worries. You can still visit the steepest street in the world on your Spaceships road trip. Keep reading for the full update.

The biggest news flash is that the steepest street in the world is no longer in Dunedin, New Zealand but is now in Harlech in Wales. The good news is that you can still visit the steepest street in the world in a Spaceships campervan, but it must be a campervan from our mates Spaceships UK & Europe. As of now, you can only visit the former steepest street in the world in Dunedin in your New Zealand Spaceships campervan. How did that change happen?

The steepest street in Guinness World Book

16 July 2019 marks the day that the Guinness World Book announced that Baldwin Street, Dunedin is no longer is the Steepest Street in the World and crowned Ffordd Pen Llech in Wales with the title.

The technicality, Baldwin Street has a gradient of 35% while Ffordd Pen Llech has a gradient of 37.45%. The Guinness Book measurement is based on the highest gradient over a 10m section of road. There are 10 criteria set by Guinness that have to be met before a street can claim the title.

Baldwin Street Dunedin - Like the Grand Canyon (CC BY NC)

Former 'Steepest Street In The Word' in Dunedin | photo: Like_the_Grand_Canyon (Flickr CC BY NC)

When you are the best at something there will always be challengers, a fact of life. Many steep streets in the world tried to beat Baldwin Street but no one has succeeded. Until now. Unfortunately, Wales succeeded in taking the title Steepest Street In The World with a 1000-year old road, originally a rock face located in the seaside resort of Harlech (Wales).

The two roads are not anything alike. Baldwin Street is straight, two-way all the way through and is heavily populated. The one in Harlech meanders through the town, with stretches marked one-way, and parts declared as ‘not safe for motorists.’ Some even refer to the now Steepest Street In The World in Wales as a “sealed over goat track”.

We will never surrender!

Harlech’s Ffordd Pen Llech may have won the Guinness World Book title Steepest Street In The World but they still don’t have what we have.

Baldwin Street isn’t just a steep street, it’s a classic, part of history. And it’s still mega steep: it has a gradient of 35%. Tourists and athletes will still want to visit the iconic street to take fun selfies or cool photos at this steep street in Dunedin. The photo-ops of the views and the architecture are just too good to pass up. It will remain a ‘must-see’ in Dunedin.

Baldwin Street is a classic loved by travellers, runners & conquerors

Baldwin Street has been home to many classic events, attracting thousands of people from around the world.

  • The Baldwin Street Cadbury Jaffa Race, an annual charitable event where 30,000 Jaffas (candies) are dropped down the slope, each sponsored by one person.
  • A similar event drops 2,000 tennis balls down the slope and raises money for Habitat for Humanity.
  • Another notable event is the Baldwin Street Gutbuster. The participants run from the base to the top and back down again, trying to break the 1:56 record set in 1994.
  • Conquerors of the steepest street include Ian Soanes (stuntman) who rode a motorcycle down Baldwin on one wheel, turned around and rode back up on one wheel.
  • Harry Willis, 11-years old, climbed the street on a pogo stick. Taking about ten minutes to the top, Willis raised $11,000 for the Ronald McDonald House in Christchurch.

Let’s see if Wales can be as creative in the use of their steepest street!

Therefore, you should keep Baldwin Street in Dunedin on your itinerary. New Zealand may have lost this battle, but we shall never surrender (to use a classic quote from Sir Winston Churchill). There’s even a rumour that a street in San Francisco will challenge Wales’ Steepest Street record soon.

What’s next for Dunedin’s steep street?

Should Dunedin increase the gradient of the street somehow? Should it be changed? Of course not! Don’t mess with a classic. Space Travellers and other roadtrippers can still visit the former Steepest Street In The World.

All that is needed, is a rename or rebranding of Baldwin Street. The street can be renamed with a fun name like:

  • the world’s straightest steep street
  • the steepest street in the Southern Hemisphere
  • the second steepest street
  • the steepest residential street
  • the steepest street in the world that isn’t a sealed goat track

You name it. Kiwi ingenuity & humour will come up with a new slogan for Baldwin Street soon.

Uh, why is Baldwin Street so steep?

A quick history lesson… The landscape of the 1,150-foot long street came about through a planning error. While laying out the city, city planners mapped out the streets with no regard to topography.

Then, in 1985, journalist and broadcaster, Jim Mora, discovered Baldwin Street as the steepest street and presented it to Guinness World Book. By April 1987, Baldwin Street did beat two streets in San Francisco and grabbed the title The Steepest Street in the World.


Visiting our Steepest Street

See, visiting the “Steepest Street in Dunedin: Home of Many Historic & Fun Events” is still a New Zealand must-see & must-see. Yeah, we know, that name is a bit long. How about if we go for Steepest Street In Southern Hemisphere? Easy to remember. But to be honest, us Kiwis will just keep calling it Steepest Street In The World because that’s what it is in our world.

While losing the 30-year old title, Dunedin still holds world records for the most southerly vineyard, the fastest text message on a mobile phone by a blindfolded person, as well as the most people spray-painted simultaneously.

And we have a multitude of beautiful and unique things for the world to see, here in one place, surrounded by beautiful waters, mountains, beaches, and so much more.

Dunedin losing the title Steepest Street In The World probably won’t change your road trip plans much. We just wanted to let you know that officially the Steepest Street In The World can now be found in Wales (another great place to visit with a campervan from Spaceships UK). However, if you do want to do or see something else in Dunedin, check out some of our favourite things to do & see in Dunedin.

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