Parkes Area

Travel alert: Flood-affected area

Motorists are being urged to reconsider their travel plans in certain areas of regional NSW, after floodwaters closed or damaged major roads and highways across the Central Tablelands, Central West, Orana and Far West. For the latest traffic updates on state-controlled roads and highways, call 132 701, visit or download the Live Traffic NSW app, and always follow the directions of emergency service and road crews on the ground. For information on local road closures, visit the relevant council website.

Tune in to a slower frequency

There are two main reasons people visit Parkes in the state’s Central West. First is ‘The Dish’, a giant radio telescope that played an integral part in the Moon landings; the second is the Parkes Elvis Festival, a rollicking annual event where pompadours and pomade rule. But there’s so much more to discover here, including a world-class sculpture trail. Tune in and drop out.

Things to do

The CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope, nicknamed 'The Dish', helped broadcast the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon landing 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.

Somewhere Down the Lachlan is a sculpture trail inspired by Bondi Beach's famous Sculpture by the Sea and stretches along the river from Forbes to Condoblin. It’s up and running now, and due for completion in 2022. Utes in the Paddock is an outdoor gallery of Holden utes painted by famous Australian artists.

Lake Cargelligo is a beautiful waterway for kayaking, waterskiing, fishing, sailing and spotting protected black swans. Peak Hill is home to a heritage open-cut gold mine and fossils from the age of the dinosaurs. 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 iconic 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 produce native to 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

Fly into Parkes Airport

Parkes Airport is 5km from the 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 four flights a week from Sydney (via Bathurst). For other major Australian cities, connect via Sydney for travel to Parkes.

Plan your trip