Find the CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope

Parkes Radio Telescope is easy to drive to and there is a wide range of other attractions in the area such as Western Plains Zoo.

The road to the Telescope is clearly marked, 20 km north of Parkes and 100 km south of Dubbo. The telescope is 6 km from the Highway. Don't forget to switch off mobile phones, radio transmitters, video cameras and other electronic and computer devices a kilometre from the telescope so you don't interfere with the astronomy. Still digital and still film cameras are okay to use.

The Newell is the main link between Melbourne and Brisbane and Parkes is about half way so it is a great spot to stop, revive, survive.

From Sydney, Parkes is accessible via the Bells Line of Road or Great Western and Mitchell Highways through Blue Mountains, Lithgow, Bathurst, Orange and Manildra. Allow about five hours plus stops along the way for the 360km trip.

From Canberra, Parkes is accessible via the Barton and Hume Highways, Lachlan Valley Way to Cowra, then to Parkes via either Eugowra or Forbes.

Public transport

Public transport from Parkes to the telescope is limited to Taxi. Parkes is serviced by Regional Express Airline (REX), Countrylink, Greyhound and the Indian Pacific train. Many coach and tour companies offer trips that stop at the telescope.

Other attractions around Parkes

  • Peak Hill Open Cut mine
  • Tyndalls Lavender Farm
  • Macusani Alpaca Country Shop & Cafe
  • Parkes Elvis Festival on the second weekend of January

For accommodation and other attractions visit the Parkes Visitor Information Website

And a little bit further

  • Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo
  • Dubbo Observatory

Other Astronomical Attractions

A visit to western New South Wales is full of opportunities to explore the universe-

Professional Observatories

  • Australia Telescope Compact Array, Narrabri
    Visit CSIRO's other radio telescope, the most powerful in the southern hemisphere.
  • Siding Spring Observatory, Coonabarabran
    Australia's premier optical observatory including the Anglo Australian Telescope and Siding Spring Exploratory

Tourist observatories

Tourist observatories operate small telescopes you can look through and can give visitors a great introduction to the night sky, and sometimes during the day.

  • Skywatch Coonabarrabran
  • Gilgandra Observatory
  • Dubbo Observatory
  • Derby Falls Observatory near Cowra

Australian Capital Territory

  • Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, Tidbinbilla, NASA's Australian link with spacecraft exploring the solar system
  • Mt Stromlo Visitors Centre
  • Canberra Planetarium

For information on professional and tourist observatories see our listing of Public Observatories and Visitors Centres.