As my train pass was about to expire and I had all but exhausted the destinations accessible by rail, I decided to go off the beaten track and visit small-town outback New South Wales. I pretty randomly chose Parkes, NSW, as it was one of the few places I knew anything about. Pre-visit, these were:
Post-visit, I can only confirm the two above facts – and add that:
A) the Dish is not easy to get to without a car and
B) the people of Parkes are exceptionally friendly, even by Australian standards. Even by Australian country standards.
If you long to replicate my amazing Parkes experience, proceed as follows:
- Marvel at the Parkes Hotel in all its Vegas-Style Mid-Century Modern glory.
- Check in, only to discover that it is neither modern nor glorious, but surmise that it’ll do for the one night, as surely there’s no need to stay any longer…
- Return to the bar/check in desk downstairs to find out how to get to the Dish on public transport.
- Get laughed at by the regulars, who are already drinking heavily at the bar since noon, for assuming there could be public transport.
- Explain why on earth you may want to see the Dish and let yourself be convinced to have a beer instead.
- Have another beer, and another, etc… being introduced to every single person who enters the hotel bar in the process.
- Decide that the Dish can wait until tomorrow, especially now that more than one person has offered to give you a lift out there.
- Take part in the weekly local pool tournament and be one of the last people to get kicked out at closing time.
- Congratulate yourself on choosing accommodation so fortuitously located in close proximity to what clearly is the best pub in town.
- Borrow a car from one of the locals the next morning and drive out to the Dish.
- Stay a second night and decide you’ll have to come back for the Elvis Festival in January (but don’t).