About CSIRO Parkes ObservatoryLocated in rural New South Wales, the Parkes Observatory is a radio telescope that was used to televise images of the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. It was also featured in the 2000 film, “The Dish”, and is considered one of the most successful science instruments in Australia.
You can visit the Parkes Observatory’s Visitor Centre to learn more about astronomy from exhibits and knowledgeable staff. Inside, you can see a full-size replica console that shows how astronomers control the dish, then watch an informative film on astronomy and explore various displays on space. There are also two person-sized dishes positioned about 30 metres apart that let you whisper to someone standing at the opposite one.
Don’t forget to grab some coffee and light snacks at the on-site cafe, which has outdoor picnic tables and numerous friendly staff happy to answer any questions about the observatory or space. Afterwards, drive through the nearby Goobang National Park to see a variety of native flora and fauna.
The Parkes Observatory is about 20 minutes’ drive from the nearest town of Parkes and just under five hours’ drive from Sydney. You can fly into Sydney Airport and rent a car, with plenty of on-site parking at the observatory.