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.
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. is a marvellous sculpture attraction painted by famous Australian artists and Gum Bend Lake is popular for water sports.
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.
Getting to Parkes is easy. The drive from Sydney is five hours, via the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains, Bathurst 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.