The beautiful Parsley Bay Reserve truly is a hidden gem, tucked away in a narrow stretch of bushland in Vaucluse. It felt like we were a million miles from the city in this little paradise in Sydney!
There is a good shaded playground, calm waters with shallow entry, lovely beach, large grassed area with lots of shade, short bushwalks, cafe, toilets, free parking and all this in a gorgeous spot. Only downside is that it is a little bit further away, then say Clifton Gardens and Northbridge Baths, and probably best left for weekday visits. But I am itching to go back!
You enter via a narrow lane way (Horler Ave) and arrive at the free car park, which has about 25 spots. Even before you turn your engine off you can hear the birds and stream, which instantly took away the stress of the drive over.
Leaving the car park, you cross a little bridge to get to the playground. Surrounded by gorgeous large trees, there is plenty of natural shade.
The playground is best suited for kids 2-7yrs and has:
- four swings, including two bucket ones next to each other,
- large see saw
- a climbing play gym with slides, tunnels and ladders,
- monkey bars, and
- picnic tables and seats nearby.
From the playground, heading towards the water, the cafe is on your left hand side. There is outdoor seating under umbrellas (oops, forgot to take a photo) and some toys for the kids. It has simple food but great for a snack or bacon and egg roll or ham and cheese croissant like we had on our last visit.
Beach and Netted Swimming
You are welcomed onto the beach by a lovely, large (sandstone) crab. There is shade on the beach on the right side as well as shaded spots behind on the grass. There is plenty of sand to dig in and then there is a long stretch of calm, shallow water for little kids to splash in. Once in the water, you should see fish and along the sides are some rocks and overhanging trees which are interesting to check out.
I just wanted to grab a li-lo and float here reading a book….maybe next time!
If your kids are swimmers or you want to do a few laps, then head along the path on the right hand side from the beach to the swimming area at the beginning of the netted bay.
Bushwalks and Bridge
There are a few little ‘bush’ adventures you can go on from either the playground or beach.
We choose to wander up to the bridge across the bay and watched some older kids jump into the water…..oh to be young! You get there along a path on the right hand side, walking under the trees, passed a little waterfall (though no water falling on the day we went) and up some stairs.
There is also a water dragon walk from near the playground, which we look forward to doing next time.
Finding Parsley Bay Reserve
Parsley Bay is directly east of the Harbour Bridge, and across the harbour from Clifton Gardens. It is about 5mins from the popular/ crowded Nielsen Park.
Entry to the car park is from Horler Ave, off Parsley Road. There is also street parking on Parsley Road and The Crescent. It took us about 55mins to get there, leaving Dundas Valley just after 9am, and 45mins coming back at 12:30pm.