Could you handle life on the world’s steepest street?

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Amy Lewis

We’ve seen the prettiest streets Britain has to offer, where cobbled lanes and candy-coloured houses make life look sweet on the daily. Gentle hill climbs look out over precious waterfront views, lending themselves naturally to soft-focus Instagram snaps.

So it’s in stark contrast, that we now present Baldwin Street, in the New Zealand town of Dunedin.

The steepest street in the world, NZ’s Baldwin Street has become an mind-bending Instagram sensation among travellers, thanks to the sharp angles that pull its houses into rather strange focus.

Baldwin Street


Found in the South Island of New Zealand, Dunedin is home many a steep climb, but none that quite match the sheer gradient of Baldwin Street. The Guinness Book of Records has even confirmed its status as the steepest residential street in all the land, prompting a surge of interest among tourists.

Making San Francisco’s famous Lombard St look like a gentle slope, what the 350 metre Baldwin Street lacks in length, it more than makes up for in height. Starting at 98ft above sea level, the road rapidly climbs to a whopping 330ft above sea level at it’s cul-de-sac summit.

Or to put it another way, for every 2.86 metres travelled horizontally, the elevation of the street rises by an entire metre.

Baldwin Street


But while the thigh-burning climb is of course a huge draw - who wouldn’t celebrate completing that hike? - the main reason Instagram-ready travellers are flocking to Baldwin Street is the strange way the houses appear to be ‘sinking’.

They’re not, of course, but thanks to an optical illusion resulting from the steep angle of the pavement, if you get the camera in the right spot the buildings really do appear to be disappearing into the ground below.

The phenomenon has sparked several hashtags on Instagram, and a whole load of filtered fun.

See a few of our favourite snaps below. One for the wanderlust list?

Baldwin Street


Baldwin Street


Baldwin Street


Baldwin Street


Baldwin Street


Lead image: Instagram/sukajourney_

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Amy Lewis

Amy Lewis is a freelance writer and editor, a lover of strong tea, equally strong eyebrows, a collector of facial oils and a cat meme enthusiast. She covers everything from beauty and fashion to feminism and travel.

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