The Octagon

Dunedin’s city center combines some of the city’s finest historic buildings with serene parkland and relaxed cafés. 

Visit The Octagon to admire the superb cathedral and Victorian town hall, relax with a coffee at one of many open-air cafés or lie on the lawns and escape the busy city streets. Dunedin’s eight-sided central plaza is the ideal first port of call on your tour of the city.

Start your tour from the center of The Octagon and you will see the statue of Scottish poet Robert Burns. Burns’ nephew Thomas was one of the leading founders of the city. Sit by one of several pretty fountains nearby and admire the surrounding architecture or challenge your travel companion to a game on the giant chessboard.

Close by, in the northwest quadrant, you will see the impressive St. Paul’s Cathedral. This 20th-century cathedral features several exquisite stained-glass windows, while towering twin spires flank the main façade.

Next to the cathedral, you’ll see the Dunedin Town Hall. This is one of the only Victorian halls in New Zealand still used for its original purpose, as the seat of the city council. Gaze up at the impressive clock tower that sits above the main entrance and admire the arched windows and subtle stonework of the façade.

You will find the Public Art Gallery to the southwest side of the plaza. A vast array of paintings and sculptures from across the country are on display here. Check out what’s showing at the multiplex cinema and Regent Theatre, located just a few feet from the gallery.

Take a break and check out one of the many cafés that line the streets. Back in the center of The Octagon, you’ll find plenty of grassy spaces to rest and watch the locals making their way through the square.

The Octagon connects George Street and Princes Street in the heart of the city. As well as being a popular transport hub, The Octagon is also within walking distance of most hotels and major sights.