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The Octagon , Dunedin Overview

The city centre of Dunedin, the Octagon is located in South Island, New Zealand. Hyped with a range of events, this place is one of the best things that has happened to Dunedin. The Octagon is an eight-sided plaza with a one-way carriageway and is bisected by the main street called George St. It is filled with street art and is predominantly Dunedin’s central area. 

The Octagon is the main terminus of two other central thoroughfares. It is surrounded by Stuart Street and Princes Street and is the main transport hub in Dunedin. This pedestrian reserve with paved features and grass, making it the centre to a few main attractions in Dunedin, including the Dunedin Public Library, Dunedin Town Hall, St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Dunedin Public Library and many other places such as a cinema multiplex, cafes and bars. All in all, The Octagon seems like a must-visit for tourists who are new to Dunedin and have limited time to spend so that they have easy access to a number of main attractions almost within walking distance.

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The Octagon

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The events that mostly take place at the Octagon include music, arts, comedy, lifestyle, family, theatre and education. To name a few, the upcoming events are Dylan Moran’s comedy event, Jennifer Stumm with Te Koki Trio that focuses on classical performing arts. Food Lovers Masterclass works around health and food and is an educational workshop. Similar to this is Mindfulness-based theatre intentions with youth which focuses on awareness, present moment experiences and other mindfulness practices. Aldous Harding is an alternative indie event which is a part of the band's nationwide tour. These events at the Octagon are quite the talk of the town.

Facilities available

  • There is free WiFi at the Octagon 
  • A range of hotels, restaurants, bars and pubs are available at the Octagon. 
  • There is parking available at the Octagon. 
  • Many pubs at the Octagon have decent lunch specials 
  • There is an (i) site information centre at the Octagon that can help visitors navigate to different locations

Eating Options

The Octagon is filled with a range of cafes, bars and restaurants. It is mainly known for its cafes and breakfast food such as eggs, bacon, sausages, waffles, etc. However, there are also a number of other restaurants that serve different cuisines and delicacies including Asian restaurants, Lebanese, American, authentic New Zealand restaurants, coffee houses, cafes that offer a variety of options for vegetarians and vegans while catering to meat lovers. What’s special at the Octagon is the beef and beer that is often seen in the menus here.

Lodging Options

There is a range of lodging options near this historic city centre. There are a number of hotels and resorts on Princes Street and Stuart Street. These mainly provide a historic experience to visitors by offering Edwardian and Victorian rooms and homes within 2-3 kilometres of the Octagon. These places offer accommodations reflecting the 1900s era while reaching for a modern experience for visitors by including five-star services and facilities such as walk-in showers, all-day room service, bed and breakfast, etc. These hotels and resorts also are in proximity to a lot of main attractions such as Otago Museum, Public Library, a cinema multiplex and many cafes and restaurants.


The Octagon is an eight-sided plaza. It is on an incline, on an uphill slope from the Ocean and is surmounted by the statue of the Scottish poet, Robert Burns from the 1800s. His son, Thomas Burns is one of the city’s founders. To the northeast of the Octagon, there is lower Stuart Street which directly takes you to Dunedin Railway Station and the upper street takes you to the inner hills and suburbs of Dunedin beyond Three Mile Hill, towards South Otago and Taieri Plains. The Octagon was renovated in the 1980s when the streetlights and walkways were given an Edwardian style along with improvements in the Plaza area, specifically in the alfresco dining area which is now a major hub for cafes and restaurants.


The Octagon was initially the idea of Charles Kettle when he decided on creating a large octagonal area with a smaller octagonal centre designated as a reserve. This place was called “The square of Moray Place” but was colloquially called the Octagon. Despite having a reserve status, there were conflicts with the Anglican church that sought to control the rights over the centre of the Octagon. After a series of quarrels, The Octagon gained independence from the Anglican Church. It was not until the 1890s when improvements were made to this centre. Following the installation of waterplay, The star Fountain, lighting and music, the Octagon saw substantial renovation, which has now made it one of the most attractive historic centres in New Zealand.

How To Reach The Octagon

The Octagon is located in Dunedin, South Island. It is around 29 kilometres away from the Dunedin International Airport (DUD) and it would take around 24-25 minutes by car. Visitors can take a cab, taxi or even the local bus from the airport to the Octagon. It will take around 40 minutes on the local bus. Airport shuttles also run from the airport but it is always safe to ensure that they are genuine and are authorised. Make sure that they arrive at the “shuttle” line at the airport before you get into them. The entry to the Octagon is free and it is open throughout the day.

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