From the world-famous radio telescope, nicknamed The Dish, to the rich agricultural and mining heritage and the fun Parkes Elvis Festival, Parkes is wonderful destination. This beautiful town was named after Sir Henry Parkes, a colonial politician credited as the father of Australia’s federation.
The CSIRO Parkes radio telescope supported receiving the television signal of the July 1969 Apollo 11 Moon landing and, along with NASA’s antenna at Honeysuckle Creek near Canberra, ‘played a key role in televising one of humanity’s most significant achievements,’ according to the CSIRO.
You can visit the observatory’s visitor centre and discover more about the telescope’s many world firsts. Browse the shop for souvenirs and enjoy a delicious meal and great views of the telescope from The Dish Cafe. Or take advantage of the free gas barbecues and cook your own lunch.
At the impressive Henry Parkes Centre are many fascinating things to do and see including a historical museum, a motor museum and the King’s Castle Elvis Exhibit, which displays Elvis Presley artefacts. You can travel on a special train from Sydney for the annual Elvis Festival in January.
Gold fever struck the Parkes region in 1861. Explore the districts goldmining heritage on one of the Gold Trails and on the self-drive Modern Mining Trail. The picturesque town of the Forbes is 25 minutes’ drive southwest of Parkes and Peak Hill’s open-cut mine experience is 35 minutes north.
Accommodation options suit various budgets and range from caravan parks to motels, bed and breakfasts, cottages, classic country pubs and a boutique hotel. A scenic drive northwest of Parkes is the Trundle Hotel, a heritage-listed pub with the longest veranda in NSW. The pub was built in 1912.