Parkes’ star turn

Situated on undulating plains west of the Great Dividing Range, Parkes is a great place to uncover the secrets of quasars, galaxies and pulsars at the CSIRO's radio telescope, better known as 'The Dish'.

Things to do around Parkes

Parkes is surrounded by wide-open spaces and plenty of opportunities to get close to nature.

Go bushwalking through Goobang National Park, home to endangered animals including the brush-tailed rock wallaby and the squirrel glider. In the cooler months, native orchids flower in this natural haven that's about 60 km north-west of Parkes.

Go camping and fishing along the Lachlan River or boating on Lake Cowal, the largest natural lake in NSW, just 94km south-west of Parkes.

200 km to the west is Lake Cargelligo, where you'll be able to see some of Australia's endangered bird species such as black swans, great crested grebes and black cockatoos.

A strenuous hike to the top of Mt Tilga, 8 km north of Condobolin, offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Located 4 km south of Forbes on the Newell Highway, the Gum Swamp Bird Hide is the place to see some of the 158 bird species that inhabit this wetland.

CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope, Escort Rock, Peak Hill

When Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon in 1969, it was the CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope that broadcast the event around the world. Now visitors travel to this Country NSW destination to learn about the radio telescope as well as astronomy.

Apart from galactic mysteries, Parkes itself is also an excellent base for exploring the Central West region, which has an interesting bushranger history and a long tradition as a goldmining centre. At Escort Rock, Eugowra, near Forbes, see where bushranger Frank Gardiner and his gang staged Australia's biggest gold heist. Visit Peak Hill's historic goldmine, enjoy water sports at Lake Cargelligo, and don't miss the climb up Mt Tilga near Condobolin.

Explore the abundance of things to do in the Parkes area, and consider scheduling your visit during one of the fabulous events. Elvis Presley fans should look out for the annual Parkes Elvis Festival, which attracts more than 18,000 visitors, so be sure to have your accommodation sorted. If you miss it, there is also a memorial for The King on his birthday in August.