The park is now being managed in different ways for the different sections, with the Jewish area being regarded as a ‘passive recreation’ usage area by the city parks department. It is open in character and lit at night.
The Presbyterian and Catholic sections are designated ‘ornamental’ and are the most formal part of the cemetery, with strong linear patterns and the use of roses and other flowering plants. Here, overall maintenance is regular and completed to a very high standard.
The Anglican and General/Wesleyan sides of the cemetery are managed as ‘picturesque’ and (lower down in the gully) ‘naturalistic’ areas.
‘Picturesque’ incorporates variety, irregularity and winding paths to explore vistas, and ‘naturalistic’ retains the area as an ecological and botanical gem in the central city. This area is intended for daytime passage, and no lighting or other elements are used to encourage the use of the paths at night.
Symonds Street Cemetery is now an inner-city park, and a green haven with a busy area. The ‘Pigeon Park’ area near the old Jewish cemetery, is an open, sunny space, and is the most well-used part of the park.
There is a walkway through the Presbyterian section of the old cemetery. Linking Upper Queen Street with Symonds Street.
Part of the Auckland walking and cycleway system skirts the southern and eastern boundaries of the cemetery, giving a new perspective to those parts of the old cemetery that were lost to the motorway construction.
If you’d like to get involved with volunteering, please contact the Friends of the Symonds Street Cemetery via their Facebook page (link below).
There are three self-guided walking trails through the Symonds Street Cemetery, which can be downloaded from the Auckland Council website (see links below).
The Rose Trail takes you through the Jewish, Presbyterian and Catholic sections, and takes about 40 minutes.
Hobson's Walk reveals the upper part of the Anglican and General Sections of the cemetery. This takes about 45 minutes.
Bishop Selwyn's Path and the Waiparuru Trail take in the lower sections of the Anglican and General/Wesleyan sections, and provide botanical notes about this unique urban forest. Allow an hour.
You can also follow a podcast tour by historian Christiane Pracht, which is provided by the Parnell Trust.
Local historian Edward Bennett offers personalised tours of the cemetery.