World's steepest street: Dunedin's Baldwin St, New Zealand loses title to Wales

After losing the cricket world cup to England, New Zealand has now been dealt another blow, losing the title of the world's steepest street title to a British rival.

On Tuesday, the Guinness World Records officially recognised Ffordd Pen Llech, in the coastal Welsh town of Harlech, as being steeper than Dunedin's Baldwin St.

Baldwin St has a gradient of 35 per cent, compared with Ffordd Pen Llech's gradient of 37.45 per cent.

Long-time Baldwin St resident Colleen Williamson said she was disappointed by the news.

"They are two completely different streets; the one in Wales is not two-way all the way through, and not heavily populated like Baldwin St."

She had lived on the Dunedin street for almost three decades, seeing it transform from a quiet residential street to a popular tourist attraction.

Dozens of tourists visited the street even in the depths of winter, she said.

Dunedin mayor Dave Cull said he believed plenty of people would still visit Baldwin St as part of their Dunedin experience.

"The street certainly hasn't got any less steep as a result of the decision."


The council would seek advice on how to reference the change, but it may be as simple as altering the wording from "the world's steepest street" to "the southern hemisphere's steepest street", Cull said.

It had been a "long strange trip" for Gwyn Headley, who drove the Welsh world record push.

"It was a lot tougher than we thought."

To satisfy the world record requirements, the Welsh bid had to supply blueprints of the street, but successfully argued it was more than 1000 years old.

Guinness World Records editor in chief said Craig Glenday the Harlech community had shown "sheer willpower" in their quest to earn Ffordd Pen Llech the title.

"We know the anticipation has been building for quite some time now and I'm pleased to see the outcome has brought such joy to the residents.

"I hope Harlech enjoys the celebrations and that the new title brings lots of people to the beautiful town, to experience the world's steepest street for themselves."

There has been a steady stream of media reports detailing capers on Dunedin's Baldwin St, including drift triking, pogoing, roller skating, and of course Lime scooters.

Once popular events, such as the annual Cadbury Jaffa Race and a Gutbuster race to the top, have now ended but the street is still a drawcard for an increasing number of cruise ship and independent travellers.

In 2001, Ana North, a 19-year-old physical education student at the University of Otago, died when she and a friend hit a parked trailer while riding a green wheelie-bin down Baldwin St.

See also: The 25 streets around the world every traveller needs to visit

See also: Twenty things that will surprise first-time visitors to NZ