Travel to/from Parkes

Apart from walking, cycling, or flying in a hot-air balloon, there are three ways to get to Parkes for NACAA 2020: planes, trains, and automobiles.

Planes

Parkes airport (PKE) is serviced by Rex (Regional Express), with flights to and from Sydney (SYD, Terminal 2). The duration of the flight is around one hour. International travellers will need to transfer from/to SYD Terminal 1.

Rex is currently offering three flights to Parkes on Thursday April 9th, departing SYD at 09:00,16:15, and 19:15. Their web site is showing the same schedule for Friday April 10. Given that 10/4 is Good Friday, this could be a mistake. They are offering different weekend schedules for Saturday (one flight) and Sunday (two flights.) You should check with Rex to confirm their flight times.

There are three return flights on Monday April 13 and Tuesday April 14, departing Parkes at 06:30, 10:30, and 17:40. Monday is a holiday, so again check Rex's schedule.

The current price for these flights range from $99 to $498, plus a 1% booking fee, and a credit card fee of around 1.5%. Discount fares cannot be cancelled, and have a 15kg limit on checked baggage, and 7kg on carry-on. The most expensive rate has a 23kg limit. Excess baggage charges apply for heavier bags. Click here for more details, which does not explain what the excess baggage charges are. Contact Rex if you need to know.

Please note that the cheapest fares are "community fares." The number of seats at this rate will be limited. Don't wait till the last minute to book your flights.

Trains

There is only a weekly direct rail service to Parkes, but there are trains with coach connections each day. Click here for further details.

The Western XPT train departs Sydney's Central Station at 07:19 each day. At Orange, switch to the 1h 15m coach service to Parkes, arriving at 13:25. The price is $67 for economy, $87 for "first class." Please note that there is accommodation within a short walk of Central Station if you want to use this option, but it could cost more than $200 for one night.

In the afternoon, the regular intercity train service to Lithgow departs Central Station at 14:18. At Lithgow, coach service 571 connects to Parkes, arriving at 21:35. The price is $53.

There are two options for the return trip to Sydney on Monday 13th. A coach to Lithgow departs Parkes at 06:35, arriving at Central Station at 14:15. Later in the day, there is a coach to Orange departing from Parkes at 14:23, and arriving at Central at 20:42.

There are extra options available on Tuesday April 14. There is a Lithgow service departing at 09:40, the service to Orange departs at 13:37, and there is a direct rail service -- the Broken Hill XPLORER -- departing from Parkes at 14:43, arriving at Central Station at 21:38.

The baggage allowance is 2 x 20kg checked, and 5kg carry-on. The coaches have toilet facilities.

There is a regular rail service between the Sydney airport terminals and Sydney Central Station. At Central, you need to walk between the airport line platforms (22-23) and the intercity platforms (4-11). Click here for a map. Don't use the southern tunnel if you have heavy bags: there are lots of stairs. Use the elevators at the northern end of platforms 22-23, which will take you down to the Northern Concourse. From there use the elevator or escalator up to the Grand Concourse, which is where all regional, intercity, and interstate services depart and arrive. Note: the Western XPT service may depart from platform 3.

Automobiles

Most NACAA delegates will drive to Parkes. The Newell Highway connects Parkes to Melbourne and southern Queensland. The Great Western and Mitchell Highways connect Sydney and Parkes via Orange. Use your GPS app to get there and back.

For interstate and international attendees, there are many web sites that offer car hire. Expect to pay around $40-70/day, plus some hidden charges. The return trip from SYD airport to Parkes is around 700kms, and will take around 5+ hours of driving each way. Petrol/gas costs should be around AU$90 round trip.

Summary

Trains are the cheapest but longest travel options. Rex is currently offering heavily discounted Promo fares, but we don't know how long these will last. If you are travelling in a group from interstate or overseas, car hire from Sydney to Parkes may be the best option.

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Legal disclaimer

NACAA Inc is offering this advice as general information only. The prices and times quoted here were correct when this advice was given, but are subject to changes outside of our control. Do not rely on this general information when making your travel plans. Please check your travel details with your travel provider.