The Octagon (GCMG8Q) is a classic urban micro in the very centre of Dunedin. While you’re waiting for the crowd of tourists from today's cruise ship to look away, there’s a lot to entertain you.
The Dunedin Public Art Gallery has an impressive range of New Zealand and international art, notably the work of painter Frances Hodgkins who was born and raised in Dunedin and whose father founded the Gallery.
Overlooking the Octagon is the 1886 bronze statue of Robert Burns (pdf) - usually with a seagull perching on his head. Poet Robert Burns was the uncle of the Reverend Thomas Burns, minister of the Free Church of Scotland’s New Edinburgh scheme.
However, the Presbyterians missed out on the prime site for their church; behind Robbie is St Pauls Anglican cathedral. This gothic style church was built in 1919, although the congregation ran out of money and couldn’t complete the chancel. It was only in 1971 that a modern-style chancel with a multicoloured Perspex cross was added – have a look inside when you visit and see whether you approve of the effect. In 1989, Dr. Penny Jamieson was consecrated here as the first woman diocesan bishop in the world.
And from the Octagon you can explore the entire solar system in under an hour - just pick up the handy Solar System Tour Guide (GC3B5ZA)!