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Kiwi climb: Hoofing up the world's steepest street

By Amanda Sealy, CNN
updated 6:14 PM EST, Tue March 4, 2014
Residents of Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand, don't need exercise machines. Walking home is enough. Residents of Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand, don't need exercise machines. Walking home is enough.
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No heels here
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Proud, if disputed, title
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand, holds the Guinness World Record for world's steepest street
  • Or so the town insists -- others dispute the claim
  • Paperboy says going down is actually harder than going up

Editor's note: This month's CNNGo TV adventure explores the gourmet scene, wildlife and breathtaking natural wonders of New Zealand's South Island. More at CNNGo.

(CNN) -- Its claim to fame has been contested, it's been hit by tragedy and it's been photographed by tourists from around the world.

But locals still hold firm to their conviction that Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand, holds the Guinness World Record for being the steepest street in the world, with a 38% grade at its steepest section.

Various sources list Canton Avenue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as the steepest.

The Guinness World Records website lists no record for world's steepest street, and mentions neither Baldwin Street nor Canton Avenue.

Tilted disputes aside, here's what life's like at a slant.

MORE: NZ South Island's 13 prettiest photo ops

Twenty-five thousand balls of chocolate are rolled down the street each year

Every July, thousands of giant Jaffa candies are rolled down the 350-meter-long street in Dunedin's annual Cadbury Jaffa Race.

Each candy is numbered and participants can buy a corresponding ticket and hope their Jaffa will be the winner.

All proceeds go to charity, and participants can wait at the bottom and get free candy.

You may feel guilty having your mail delivered

Kevin Hanifin has been delivering mail on Baldwin Street for the past two years.

He says he's in better shape thanks to the route, and that the adjacent streets are no cakewalk, either, since they're almost as steep.

It's always an entertaining walk, he says, since visitors often stop and talk to him.

While Hanifin prefers to deliver the mail starting at the top of the hill, 17-year-old paperboy Hamish Lilly says going down is actually harder than going up.

There's no exercise like going home

Baldwin Street resident Dave Kernahan, 63, started a weight-loss program after he lost his job and began gaining weight 15 years ago.

His program?

Just going up and down his street.

He runs up and down the street 30 times almost every day -- a total of more than 10 kilometers.

His personal best is 105 times in one day.

MORE: 10 things Canada does better than anywhere else

Tourists come from around the world; residents are over it

When deciding to move to Baldwin Street, Sue Marshall says she wasn't concerned about the grade, but rather the number of tourists who'd be passing her home each day.

"I love meeting people -- you can't really go out of the front gate without meeting someone from across the world," says Marshall.

She figures her husband has already shown up in more than 100 tourist photos while working in their garden, but says she'd be doing the same thing if she were visiting.

Meanwhile, she's only been to the top of her street once and her husband hasn't made it up yet.

There are a few incentives to get to the top

Last year, Dunedin artist Daniel Mead painted a mural at the top of the street.

He says one of the hardest parts about painting it was driving up the hill every day.

"It may have been a better idea to just walk as I think it ruined my car," he says.

There's a rumor that certain residents on Baldwin Street will offer visitors a certificate of completion if they can make the trek.

Some bright soul also installed a drinking fountain.

More: Is New Zealand's Fergburger the best burger joint on the planet?

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