Parkes Area

Highlights

Explore galaxies at the world-famous Dish, enjoy water sports on sparkling waterways and discover beautiful heritage and prehistoric creatures in the Parkes region of NSW. Enjoy the annual Parkes Elvis Festival, which attracts hundreds of Elvis impersonators for this fun celebration in January.

  • Parkes Statue - Image Credit Parkes Shire Council
  • Parkes Dish - Image; Parkes Shire Council

About the Parkes region

Discover the secrets of the Universe at the world-famous CSIRO Parkes radio telescope, explore beautiful heritage, and enjoy the Elvis Festival, water sports and bushwalking in the beautiful Parkes region in Country NSW. You’ll find many wonderful things to do and see, and plenty of places to stay.

Nicknamed The Dish, the CSIRO Parkes Observatory in Parkes helped broadcast the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon landing, when Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the Moon. You can learn more about astronomy at the observatory’s visitor centre - and savour lunch in The Dish Cafe.

Parkes Dish - Image; Jenny Gerada

The Henry Parkes Centre contains fascinating museums and King’s Castle Elvis Exhibit, which displays genuine Elvis Presley artefacts. Slip on your blue suede shoes for the annual Parkes Elvis Festival in January. Hundreds of Elvis impersonators make the journey to this celebration of the music legend.

Check out the events calendar for more festivals and shows, such as the annual Tullibigeal Picnic Races in Condobolin, 70 minutes’ drive west of Parkes. Utes in the Paddock is a marvellous sculpture attraction painted by famous Australian artists and Gum Bend Lake is popular for water sports.

Parkes Elvis Festival - Image Credit Parkes Shire Council

Lake Cargelligo, southwest of Condobolin, is a beautiful waterway for kayaking, waterskiiing, fishing and sailing. Part of this wonderful oasis is a bird sanctuary for protected species such as the black swan. The village by the same name is only 90 minutes’ drive north of Griffith, a famous wine region.

A short drive southwest of Parkes is Forbes, a lovely riverside town with heritage buildings that featured in the hit movie The Dish, about the radio telescope and the Moon landing. North of Parkes in Peak Hill and an open-cut heritage gold mine and fossils from the age of the dinosaurs.

Peak Hill Mine, Image; Parkes Shire Council

Getting to Parkes is easy. The drive from Sydney is five hours, via the World Heritage-listed Blue MountainsBathurst and Orange. From Canberra it’s a little over three hours. You can travel by train direct from Sydney on Mondays. The flight from Sydney to Parkes Airport is only 65 minutes.

Fly into Parkes Airport

Family at the airport

Parkes Airport is located 5 km from Parkes’ town centre. Use the taxi services to make the short trip west. Alternatively, rent a car from the hire services available at the airport and explore the region at your own pace.

Regional Express services the airport with around 18 weekly direct flights to and from Sydney. For other major Australian cities, connect via Sydney to travel into Parkes.

Discover the Magic of Parkes Shire

Discover the magic of Parkes Shire... From the heights of Goobang National Park to the plains of wheat and country villages, Parkes Shire boasts many sights to see - some well known and others waiting to be discovered.

Events

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Local areas

  • Condobolin Enjoy the marvellous Utes in the Paddock sculptures, fishing on Australia’s fourth-longest river and water sports on a popular lake.
  • Forbes Explore beautiful colonial buildings, the colonial gold rush and the life on notorious bushranger Ben Hall.
  • Parkes Visit the world-famous CSIRO Parkes radio telescope and slip on your blue suede shoes for the annual Elvis Festival.
  • Peak Hill Try your luck panning for gold, explore an open-cut gold mine and discover a giant fish from the age of the dinosaurs.