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Top Things to See and Do in Parkes

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Published September 22nd 2022
Not only for Elvis fans
Parkes is best known for its Elvis Festival which attracts tens of thousands of Elvis fans to the Country NSW town each year. Five fun-filled January days are set aside annually to celebrate the life and music of the rollicking king. But, there are other things to discover in the Parkes area too including a radio telescope, a heritage open-cut gold mine and a sculpture trail.

CSIRO Parkes Observatory

Observatory parkes
CSIRO Parkes Observatory

Millions of people saw Neil Armstrong step onto the moon because of CSIRO Parkes Observatory's radio telescope. Well, that was one of the reasons at least. In July 1969, this 64-metre parabolic dish actually helped broadcast the Apollo 11 moon landing! It has also tracked interplanetary space missiond and received data from spacecraft since then.

CSIRO Parkes Observatory

You'll find the observatory as well as its radio telescope, visitor centre, 3D theatre and science garden approximately 20 kilometres from the town centre. Visitors are most welcome, however, please ensure that all phones have been switched to aeroplane mode before arriving.

CSIRO Parkes Observatory
CSIRO Parkes Observatory

Peak Hill Gold Mine Experience

Peak Hill
Peak Hill Gold Mine Experience

Gold was discovered in Peak Hill in the late 19th century and its open-cut mine operated for many years. Today, the site offers members of the public a chance to see the old mines for themselves via multiple viewing platforms along a 1300-metre walking trail.

Peak Hill
Peak Hill Gold Mine Experience

Although a bit rough and steep in some places, the track is worth exploring if your fitness level allows it. For those who prefer not to do the walk, you can still catch a glimpse of one of the mines from the southern lookout near the toilets. Peak Hill is located just 40 minutes drive north of Parkes.

Sculpture Down the Lachlan


Stretching from Forbes to Condobolin, Sculpture Down the Lachlan features over twenty impressive outdoor art installations along the Lachlan River. The 100-kilometre sculpture trail was inspired by Sydney's famous Sculptures by the Sea, but this 'bush' version also showcases the stunning rural landscape on which these sculptures are installed.

Arhab Bik Bialhabi
Arhab Bik Bialhabi

Among my favourites are Eternity by Lachlan Ross which symbolises strength, courage and peace and Arhab Bik Bialhabi by Ayad Alqaragholli which represents loyalty, love and welcome. Forbes is located just 30 minutes drive southwest of Parkes. For all the latest on the trail including any closure due to flooding, do check out their Facebook page.
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Why? Not only for Elvis fans
When: Anytime
Where: Parkes, NSW
Your Comment
I had heard about the Elvis Festival but not some of the other great reasons to visit this wonderful town.
by Gillian Ching (score: 3|6399) 179 days ago
Every town has things of interest. There is more than parks in Parkes.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|4578) 179 days ago
that is a BIG dish. from memory, i think something similar in canberra.
by mytsl (score: 2|208) 179 days ago
That open cut mine is so so pretty. I bet lots of work has been put into it. thanks for article.
by micha (score: 1|32) 177 days ago
Such an amazing country town. Certainly worth a visit.
by Bev (score: 2|189) 176 days ago
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