the Dish

Visit 'the Dish' at Parkes

Star of the movie 'The Dish', the 64 m Parkes radio telescope in the central west of NSW is a great place to visit. Tune into the universe at 'the Dish' and discover world-class astronomy and engineering at this international scientific and cultural icon. Built virtually in the shadow of the 64 metre dish, the Visitors Centre and Dish Café at Parkes Observatory cater for public curiosity about the radio telescope and astronomy.

What to see

The Visitors Centre has displays and interactive exhibits about the telescope. Best of all it is literally in the shadow of the Dish so you can't beat the view.

The Visitors Centre:

  • » is open from 8.30 am to 4.15 pm every day except Christmas and Boxing Days, and has extended trading during some holidays
  • » has free entry
  • » has a great view of the telescope
  • » offers displays and exhibits
  • » has a 3D theatre (entry fee applies)
  • » has a theatre about the telescope (entry fee applies)
  • » offers meals at the licensed Dish Café
  • » has a shop with souvenirs, books, posters and science toys
  • » offers free BBQ and picnic facilities.

The theatres

There are two theatres within the Visitors Centre. We operate the theatres on demand.
The 3D theatre shows a range of astronomy-related 3D movies. We are currently running a 23 minute double feature, After Stars, on location for a supernova, followed by Spinning in Space where Tom the astronaut discovers galaxies. Four other 3D presentations are available on request.

The Visitors Centre provides great views of 'the Dish'.
The Invisible Universe, an interesting and awe-inspiring 21 minute presentation about the telescope, radio astronomy and the history of astronomy, is shown in the other theatre.
Entry to the Visitors Centre is free, however, there is a charge to view the theatre presentations.

The Dish Café

The Dish Café serves a wide range of food and drink from light meals to large weekend breakfasts. It is open 8.30 am to 4.15 pm. Contact the Dish Café by phone on 61 2 6862 1566.

Getting 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. Being readily accessible from Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney, with attractions both here and on the way, makes the telescope a popular attraction.