Adult and two children playing on the grass in front of the Parkes radio telescope (Image: Mark James Photography and Parkes Shire Council)

The Parkes radio telescope is a great place for everyone to visit. (Image: Mark James Photography and Parkes Shire Council)

Visiting 'the Dish'

Star of the movie 'The Dish', the 64m Parkes radio telescope in the central west of New South Wales, Australia, is a great place to visit.
The Visitors Discovery Centre is open 7 days except Christmas Day and Boxing Day. We open at 8:30am each morning and close as follows:
- up to 24th December 4:15pm
- 27th December to 12th January 5:30pm
- 13th January to 26th January 5pm

  • 8 June 2005 | Updated 18 December 2013

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Top 5 things to see and do at the Dish

  1. Marvel at the engineering beauty of the Dish in our viewing area
  2. Explore our Astronomy and Space Science Exhibition
  3. Discover the Universe in our high definition 3D theatre
  4. Challenge your kids with the AstroKids Scavenger Hunt.
  5. Taste the delights of the region in our award winning 'Dish Café'

Astronomy and Space Science Exhibition

This modern exhibition takes you on a journey exploring the highlights of the telescope's rich history. Starting as an idea in the 1950s, see how the Parkes radio telescope has matured into a world leading research facility. This exhibition is designed to answer your questions about the telescope and its operation, but leave you pondering some of the big questions like; how big is the Universe and what is the Universe made of?
 

The Astronomy and Space Science exhibition is free.

High definition 3D theatre

Produced by Swinburne University's Centre for Astrophysics and Super Computing, these animated features offer a glimpse into the vast complexity of our Universe. The 3D theatre shows a variety of short 3D film together and lasts for about half an hour. The movies change regularly, so please contact the Parkes radio telescope visitors centre for information on our latest shows.

AstroKids Scavenger Hunt

This fun activity takes you on a tour around the Parkes Observatory Visitors Discovery Centre seeking clues to solve a puzzle. Once you have unveiled the secret word you can then collect the official AstroKids stamp. The activity is suitable for students aged 7-14 years of age and takes about 30 minute to complete.
 

You can complete the Scavenger Hunt anytime for A$4.95, though pre-booked school groups will receive a discounted rate.

The Dish Café

Treat yourself to a memorable dining experience at the award winning 'Dish Café'. Winner of the Inland NSW tourism award for tourism restaurants and catering in 2008, 2009, and 2010, the Dish Café now sits in the Inland NSW tourism awards hall of fame.

  • Open for Breakfast and Lunch daily
  • Great coffee and hot scones
  • Catering available for groups.

Contact the Dish Café on (02) 6862 1566.

Opening hours

  • Open 7 days a week (including public holidays) 8.30am to 4.15pm
  • Extended hours during some school holidays
  • Closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

How to get there

The Parkes Radio Telescope is 20 kilometres north of Parkes on the Newell Highway, the main highway between Brisbane and Melbourne. The road to the telescope is clearly marked.


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Find out more about group bookings.