When going to Parkes in the summer make sure you have some cool/loose clothes because it gets very hot during the day... We played touch football in 45?C heat one year! ;) Winter can get cold though. Take lots of sunscreen...the sun will burn you very quickly, especially in the summer...
Forbes is a town about 30 minutes drive south of Parkes. It is a great little place to visit and the locals are all very friendly...
It's also the home of the Western District Parachute Club and the place where I did two static line (solo) jumps... :) Check out my Forbes page for more info. :)
Parkes... location of The Dish
The town is about a 4.5 hour drive west from Sydney over other side of the Great Dividing Range. Well, you pass the Blue Mountains to get there.
It's quite a nice town, but the main attraction for us, was to visit the location of the Satellite Dish which beams images from outerspace.
In fact, it was a significant part of the communication back in 1969 during the Moon Landing.
There is also an Elvis Presley Festival which is held every year in early January.
It can get quite hot in Parkes in summer, and in winter, the nights can be very cold.
Parkes is a small country town of about 10,500 people. It was once a gold rush town but is now a rich agricultural district.
We visit Parkes every year for a touch football carnival but I have driven through on a few other occassions for trips up north. It's only 3 hours drive from my home town of Wagga Wagga.
The town of Parkes was made 'famous' when the Aussie movie "The Dish" was released...
Parkes - home of 'The Dish'
Parkes was a convenient stopping point for the next leg of our tide which would see us plunging deep into Australia's inhospitable outback on our epic trip to Broken Hill.
Apart from actually being on the way, another major reason for visiting Parkes was to see the impressive Radio Telescope so instrumental in NASA's first mission to the moon after being inspired to see it by the excellent film 'The Dish' in 2000.
The other fantastic thing we were able to do here was see the spectacular Dec 4th 2002 eclipse of the sun which passed over Southern Australia - we were a bit further away so it was only a partial eclipse, but we were able to look at it directly due to a timely dust storm...
Best of all, we were put up by a friendly farming couple who also combined school teaching and safety work into their hectic schedules and we were able to take a tour of their 400 acre (small by Aussie standards!) livestock farm, seeing a mob of Kangaroos in the process...
Parkes first came to real prominence in 1871 when gold was discovered and it became one of NSW's most profitable mines. The town was named Parkes in honour of the governer of NSW who visited here during this time.
The poet Harry Morant, of Breaker Morant, worked as a stockman in the area before fighting in the Boer War, where he was executed by the British.
"Quick Tips and Suggestions"
Check out the wonderful Radio Telescope Visitors Centre about 20km north on the Newell Highway towards Dubbo.
Bushman's Hill, where the Gold mining operation once ran, and Memorial Hill have picnic areas and good views over the town below.
Apart from that, Parkes is a fairly quiet rural service town of 10,500 souls without that much else to keep you entertained...
Events of note in Parkes during the year include:
The Parkes Festival of Sport during Easter.
The Jazz Tridium weekend festival held in June with a street parade, picnic races and music in the streets.
The Annual Agricultural show held in August.
The Country Music Jamboree in October.
You can drive here, take a bus or fly as there is a direct connection to Sydney from here.
Driving is probably the best way to get around, although to get here from Sydney is quite a mission as it is 364km west of Sydney, though there is plenty to keep you amused along the way...