Baldwin Street is recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the steepest street in the world. The
street runs up the northern side of Signal Hill, a prominent hill overlooking Otago Harbour, at slopes of
up to 1:2.86 (for 2.86m horizontal distance, a rise of 1m).
The steepness was unintentional; grids were laid out by surveyor Charles Kettle without proper regard
for the terrain. Indeed some of the streets he intended were unable to be laid.
Unlike most New Zealand Streets, the street is surfaced in concrete not asphalt, as the tar would flow
down the slope on a warm day as well as to provide a better grip in Dunedin's frosty winters. Stairs lead
up the curb-side instead of a footpath.
There are a couple of annual events held at Baldwin street, one being the Jaffa Race at the annual
Cadbury Chocolate Carnival, where 30,000 Giant Jaffas, hard orange candies with a chocolate centre, are
rolled down the street. Each Jaffa is numbered, and sponsorship is sold by various local and nationwide
beneficiaries who get to keep the money raised. At the bottom of Baldwin St the Jaffas are funnelled into
the finishing chute to decide the winners.
Another major event is the Baldwin Street Gutbuster, a race to the top and back down again. Around 1000
people compete in different categories, but the record hasn't been beaten in over a decade. Both locals
and people from all over the world come to compete.
If that sounds too much, walk up in your own time. It takes about ten minutes, just to walk about 350
metres! But don't worry, there's a drinking fountain at the top.
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