Every day's a circus on steepest street

By Shawn McAvinue

Germans Stephanie Werner and friend Marie Hammerschmidt heard about Baldwin St while travelling. Photo / Otago Daily Times
Germans Stephanie Werner and friend Marie Hammerschmidt heard about Baldwin St while travelling. Photo / Otago Daily Times

Welcome to "the circus", also known as the world's steepest street.

Baldwin Street B'n'B co-owner Jackie Papuni said Baldwin St was an interesting place to live.

"Every day is like a circus." Tourists were constantly taking photographs of her Dunedin bed and breakfast at odd angles to create the optical illusion of the house being severally lopsided or sinking, she said.

"Every day, all day. Even when it's pouring with rain, people still come."

The unusual photographs have created a social media craze, which was the subject of a Daily Mail report.

She had owned the business for six months and the craziest thing she had seen was a tourist rollerskating down the street pushing a luggage trolley. The man crashed at the bottom and lost plenty of skin, she said.

Baldwin St resident Matthew Dwyer said "tonnes of" tourists took photos of his house with tilted cameras and he played up to it: the letterbox on the picket fence outside his 102-year-old villa was installed on the same angle as the street to "add to the illusion".

Crazy activity was common on the street and many people crashed near his house, where there was a camber in the road.

At night, "hoons" rolled items from Buchanan St at the top of Baldwin St.

"If it's not tied down, it gets rolled down."

A stormwater grate at the top of the street is chained down to stop people rolling it down the street.

Media designer Stephanie Werner (25), of Berlin, said she visited Baldwin St after hearing about it on her travels.

Before visiting, she was sceptical of its reputation as the steepest street in the world because she had seen steep streets in San Francisco.

She said she would not dare drive her car up Baldwin St, but would attempt such a feat in San Francisco.

- NZ Herald

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