Parkes Area

Explore the Parkes region of NSW and discover the delights it has to offer. There's stunning natural beauty – perfect for water sports, bushwalking and birdwatching – plus colonial gold rush heritage, a world-class sculpture trail and one of Australia's most memorable music events, the Parkes Elvis Festival.

The CSIRO Parkes Observatory radio telescope pointing skyward, Parkes, Australia

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, waterskiiing, 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

Festivals and events

The iconic Parkes Elvis Festival has become a world-famous annual pilgrimage for Elvis impersonators and fans alike. In 2021, the event will be held in March instead of its usual January dates. 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.

Elvis tribute celebrating 25 years of the Parkes Elvis Festival in Parkes, Country NSW

Getting there and where to stay

The Parkes region is just under five hours’ drive from Sydney, almost eight hours from Melbourne and around three hours from Canberra. You can also travel by train direct from Sydney to Parkes on Mondays. You’ll find plenty of places to stay, including charming B&Bs, converted, motor inns and comfortable caravan parks.