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Parkes is located in inland New South Wales, around a 5-hour drive from Sydney, and is a popular stop on any New South Wales road trip. Driving from Sydney to the area, you will pass through many national parks offering stunning drives and stop-offs. Between Parkes and Sydney, you have the Blue Mountains National Park and towns such as Bathurst and Orange, offering attractions and walking trails.
Start off your trip in Parkes at the Henry Parkes Centre. Here you will find a modern tourist complex complete with four museums and the visitor information centre. Make sure to pick up some pamphlets that detail some of the attractions in the area, including gold rush era sites to explore. Inside the centre, you will find the Antique Machinery Collection, the Henry Parkes Museum, Moat Cottage Replica, the Parkes Motor Museum and the Kings' Castle Elvis Exhibit.
It is an unlikely site to find artefacts of the king, the king being Elvis Presley. But the King's Castle has many, and is owned by Greg Page, the original ‘Yellow Wiggle’. These genuine artefacts have brought visitors from all over Australia and abroad, featuring examples of his famous jumpsuits.
For the motor enthusiast in the family, the Parkes Motor Museum is a must. See rare cars such as the 1911 Martini GA, one of only five left in existence. With 24 incredible cars and 10 motorcycles as well as other motoring memorabilia, it is worth a visit when in the centre.
Go back to a simpler time with the Moat Cottage Replica, an exact replica of Sir Henry Parkes home from Coventry, England. Learn about Parkes inside the cottage with the theatre experience, a free 20-minute production. Continue the heritage education at the Henry Parkes Museum and Antique Machinery Collection. With over 10,000 items and a blacksmith shop, the exhibits depict life in Parkes through various documents, photos and other items.
With so many regional towns to explore, a rental car is a must when in regional New South Wales. The town of Orange is just over an hour away by car. The Orange region is known for its vineyards and is perfect for wine-based getaways. With beautiful natural settings surrounding the town, you won't be short on places to drive. Take in a cellar door experience at one of the local boutique wineries, with perfect climate conditions producing wine that bursts with flavour; many of the wines from Orange are internationally acclaimed. Make sure you have a designated driver with you if you are taking your car to any wineries.
With Mount Canobolas, an ancient volcano, Nangar National Park and other natural escapes, finding places to enjoy with your rental car is easy. Nangar is known for its wildflowers, native wildlife such as kangaroos and wallabies, and panoramic views from the top of Mount Nangar. Spend the night camping under the stars; with low light pollution, the skies light up at night, offering a cosmic show.
Take a closer look at the universe from the CSIRO Parkes radio telescope. Known as the ‘Dish’, this satellite was responsible for broadcasting the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. With a museum and exhibits on-site, the Dish now attracts visitors from the region. You might recognize it from the Australian movie 'The Dish' inspired by the true story of the Apollo 11 broadcast in Australia. Take in a 3D movie at the theatre, showing a variety of short films based around science and astrophysics. The Dish is 20 kilometres west of Parkes and offers free entry into the telescope viewing area and exhibition space.
From space, to wine and National Parks, the region is full of fun and exciting activities. So start planning your New South Wales regional experience today, with Thrifty.