Challenge your perspective: New Zealand’s steepest street

You’ve probably seen those weird pictures of Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni. You know: the ones where tiny people are flicked off spoons or balance in the palm of their friend’s hand. We all love a photo that fools the eye. In Bolivia, it’s the almost completely flat surface and absence of any distinctive features as far as the eye can see that fools us into losing all sense of perspective.

Salar de Uyuni
Salar de Uyuni: Photo Corey Sprult / CC-BY-2.0

Baldwin: The Steepest Street in New Zealand

Not to be outdone, New Zealanders and visitors to Dunedin’s Baldwin Street, the steepest street in New Zealand, have been having a little fun of their own. Once incorrectly listed by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s steepest street – that accolade actually goes to Canton Avenue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – it’s still a very tough stretch of tarmac to hike up.

Canton Avenue from the top
Canton Avenue from the top: Photo Lildobe / CC BY 3.0

That hasn’t stopped the residents’ peace being shattered on a regular basis by people posing for snaps beside houses on the steepest street in New Zealand, that appear to be sinking into the ground. At first, you could be forgiven for thinking that they had suffered damage in a severe earthquake, but rotate the picture and you’ll see that it’s the street that slopes, not the homes.

Steepest Street in New Zealand: Baldwin Street Dunedin
Baldwin Street, Dunedin
Steepest Street in New Zealand: Baldwin Street Dunedin
Baldwin Street, Dunedin

Other Sights in Dunedin

When you’re done taking pictures of other people’s houses along the steepest street in New Zealand, there’s plenty more to see in Dunedin. It’s the site of New Zealand’s only castle, for a start. Larnach Castle was the brainchild of a banker named William James Mudie Larnach, the reward for his life’s effort and constructed in the 1870s. It’s had a chequered past – there aren’t many castles that can claim to have been a lunatic asylum and fewer still that their ballroom had been reinvented as a sheep pen – but now restored, it’s firmly on the tourist trail as one of the city’s best loved visitor attractions.

Larnach Castle Dunedin New Zealand
Larnach Castle, Dunedin: Photo on Flickr by Curtis Simmons / CC BY-NC 2.0

Even the city’s railway station is worth a second look. Its elaborate facade and no expense spared interior belie its use as a functioning station. From here you can catch the Seasider service or travel the scenic Taieri Gorge Railway.

Steepest Street in New Zealand: Baldwin: Dunedin Station
Dunedin Station: Photo Antilived / CC BY-SA 3.0

Nearby you can visit Tunnel Beach, its wave cut sandstone arches and caves a breathtaking sight. Keep your eyes peeled for fossils in the rock here. And no, your eyes aren’t deceiving you – the brachiopods, sea urchins and even the bones of an extinct whale that have been found here are quite real.

Tunnel Beach
Tunnel Beach

About JuliaHammond


Julia Hammond is a Geography teacher turned travel writer with a passion for places. Winning Mail Travel's Deep South competition was the catalyst to write for a diverse range of publications including Bradt's Bus Pass Britain Rides Again. She’s written Kindle guides to Cape Town, Peru and London for Unanchor and advice on Savannah for Wanderlust. When not travelling, she can be found at home in Essex planning her next trip, her two golden retrievers curled up at her feet.

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  1. 8 Fun Facts About New Zealand - Makes It a Must Visit | Go 4 Travel Blog

    […] Baldwin Street in Dunedin is the steepest street in the world. At its steepest part, for every 2.86 metres it […]


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