Parkes Area

Tune in to a slower frequency

There are usually two things that draw people to Parkes in the Central West region of NSW. First is ‘The Dish’, the giant radio telescope that played an integral role in the 1969 Moon landings. The second is the iconic Parkes Elvis Festival, a rollicking annual event where pompadours and pomade rule. But there’s so much more to explore here, including a world-class sculpture trail.  



Things to do

The CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope, nicknamed 'The Dish', helped broadcast the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon landing to the world and is a must-see. It inspired the Australian movie The Dish, and you can spot many of the heritage buildings featured in the film in nearby Forbes, a picturesque town on the banks of the Lachlan River. 

Sculpture Down the Lachlan is an outdoor sculpture trail inspired by Bondi Beach's famous Sculpture by the Sea, stretching along the river from Forbes to Condoblin. Another quirky outdoor gallery, Utes in the Paddock features Holden Utes painted by famous Australian artists. 

Lake Cargelligo is a beautiful waterway for kayaking, waterskiing, fishing, sailing and spotting protected black swans, while historic Peak Hill is home to a heritage open-cut gold mine. The Henry Parkes Centre houses four fascinating museums, including the King’s Castle Elvis Exhibit, dedicated to Elvis Presley. 

Visitors reading the information signs on a visit to the Peak Hill Open Cut Gold Mine in Parkes Shire

Peak Hill Open Cut Gold Mine, Peak Hill

Festivals & events

The Parkes Elvis Festival has become a world-famous annual pilgrimage for Elvis impersonators and fans alike. More than 200 events are held over the five days with performances, parades, dances and more. Slip on your blue suede shoes and see if you can shake your hips with the best of them. 

Grazing Down The Lachlan, held in September in Forbes, is an annual food festival that celebrates the local produce of the Central West region. Check out the events calendar for more festivals and fun, such as the annual Tullibigeal Picnic Races in Condobolin

Getting there

The Parkes region is just under a 5hr drive from Sydney, almost an 8r drive from Melbourne and around a 3hr drive from Canberra. You can also travel by train direct from Sydney to Parkes on Mondays.  

Parkes Airport is 5km from the Parkes town centre. Regional Express services the airport with four flights a week from Sydney. For other major Australian cities, connect via Sydney for travel to Parkes. 

Plan your trip