Steepest street no more: Dunedin's Baldwin St loses title

Guinness World Records has announced Dunedin's Baldwin St is no longer the steepest street in the world.

Baldwin St's claim to fame has been successfully challenged by another in the Welsh town of Harlech.

The minor road Ffordd Pen Llech is the steepest in the UK - and now the world.

In an article published on Tuesday, Guinness World Records said Harlech was officially home of the world's steepest street.

"Baldwin St has held the record for over a decade."

Guinness World Records says Ffordd Pen Llech has a gradient of 37.5 percent at its steepest point, compared to Baldwin St's 35.

In a statement to Newshub, Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said he was "philosophical" about the decision.

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

Harlech resident Gwyn Headley told Newshub from Wales on Tuesday it was "absolutely wonderful" news, but admitted he felt "really sad" for Dunedin.

Headley said he got in touch with Guinness World Records about 10 months ago, when he became convinced it was steeper.

"We are in the most beautiful part of the most beautiful country in the world," he told Newshub.

He said the town depended on tourism.

"When this happened I realised it's a good thing for Harlech, and more people will want to come and see it.

"A lot of people have come to Dunedin to look at the previous world's steepest street, and it's been great for Dunedin.

"Dunedin still has a phenomenally steep street - and frankly it's really worth going to see."

Baldwin St resident of 30 years Sharon Hyndman believes it won't make much difference. It remains the steepest in the Southern Hemisphere.

"As a resident, will it cut down on the traffic and the people in my front yard? Well, time will tell," she told Newshub.

New opportunities?

Dunedin sees a new marketing opportunity around the corner - after losing the title of the world's steepest street.

Enterprise Dunedin Director John Christie said he isn't expecting any dramatic effect. 

"If anything it might actually increase visitor numbers here," he told Newshub. "Because people will want to see the steepest street in the Southern Hemisphere and see why we've lost it to the Welsh."