The bay can be accessed via several routes. The first is straight off the beach. The other entries are on the right hand side of the bay using the path. Halfway along the bay their is a ladder access point, and not far from the shark nets there is a ramp access. Access past the shark net is via the jetty at the end of the path.
This is one of the strengths of Parsley Bay. Facilities include a kiosk, picnic tables, toilet block with change rooms and showers. The showers are the fixed temperature type, and are generally cool to lukewarm. There is also good parking available, but you need to arrive early morning in summer is it fills up by 10 am. The carpark is about a 200 m walk to the water across the grassy park. The beach however is not patrolled by lifeguards.
Since the bay is inside the harbour, it is quite protected and typically calm even in high swell conditions. The first 30-40 m of the bay is typically 1-2 m in depth, so it’s a great shallow water snorkel, with plenty of sand and rock environments to explore. The entrance to the bay is fully netted, which means you may find seahorses on the nets. Woollahra council remove the nets between July and September for cleaning and repair, so you may find the nets are devoid of attached sea life. They were pretty pristine when I snorkelled the bay in January 2014. The bay is however quite silty in places, and susceptible to turbidity due to being inside the Harbour.
Unlike other bays like Clovelly, you won’t find larger fish such as Blue Groper, due to the nets.
You will however find a plethora of smaller species, and the first time I dived here I saw the largest pipefish I have ever seen. Common Sydney species such as luderick, snapper, madu, blue striped goatfish and schooling bait fish are readily found. Maori wrasse, fantail leatherjackets and pygmy leatherjackets can also be found further out the bay around the kelp beds and seagrasses. I’ve also found white nudibranchs out in that kelp as well. The deeper water near the nets can also have cuttlefish and stingarees over the sand.
Parsley Bay is great for rough weather days or when you just want a quiet day in the water. It’s certainly a better site than Camp Cove due to the better parking and much larger areas for exploration. It’s also a great site for learning to snorkel due to it’s calm conditions, especially when Clovelly is washed out by the weather.