Top 5 things to see at the 2016 Parkes Elvis Festival


The 24th annual Parkes Elvis Festival will be held January 6-10, 2016, and if last year’s event is any guide, it will attract more than 20,000 excited visitors.

The main street is closed off for the duration becoming known as the NRMA festival boulevarde, and the local businesses get involved, decorating their shopfronts for that year’s theme. Each theme is based on an Elvis Presley movie – in 2015 it was Roustabout (with a carnival vibe); this year it is Fun in Acapulco, so sombreros are likely to figure highly.

As the festival has grown from humble beginnings in 1993, it has become more and more a family event. In addition to the ‘Elvis tribute artists’, there is a Priscilla Presley lookalike competition, a classic car show, a chance for married couples to renew their vows Vegas style, markets, a photography competition, and more Elvis inspired goodness. We’re excited to play a part in the Elvis Festival for the second time, so visit the NRMA stand at Cooke Park and check out our vintage vehicles.

The local motels are often booked out a year in advance at festival time, so if you don’t have a motorhome or caravan, you might need to stay in one of the neighbouring towns such as Peak Hill or Forbes.

Another thing that books out quickly is the Elvis Express, which departs from Central Station in Sydney and takes 400 enthusiasts out to Parkes via rail. Al and his offsider get on the Elvis Express at Orange to do a meet and greet with the passengers.

Top 5 things to see at the 2016 Parkes Elvis Festival

Wednesday January 6 6pm:
Elvis at the Dish: The Brightest Stars in Heaven
Parkes Shire’s two great icons are brought together again as Shakin’ Rick Mackaway and The Wilsonics perform the King’s greatest hits in front of the world famous CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope.
Where: CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope, Telescope Road, Parkes
Admission: $15

Thursday 7 January 4pm: Elvis Express Arrival
See Al and his offsider emerge from the Elvis Express with all the mad Elvis fans who have made the trip out from Sydney.
Where: Parkes Railway Station, Welcome Street, Parkes
Admission: Free

Friday 8 January 10am: Screening of Fun in Acapulco Get acquainted (or reacquainted) with the Elvis film that inspired this year’s festival!
Where: Parkes Library, 25 Bogan Street, Parkes
Admission: Free

Saturday 9 January 10am: Northparkes Mines Street Parade Enjoy a parade packed full of Elvis-themed floats, Elvis and Priscilla look-a-likes, vintage cars and motorcycles, and marching bands.
Where: Clarinda Street, Parkes.
Admission: Free

Sunday 10 January 2pm: ‘The ’68 Special’ Travel back to June 1968 with US Elvis tribute artist Donny Edwards as he lights up the stage with his scorching tribute to The King. Where: Parkes Leagues Club, 194 Clarinda Street, Parkes
Admission: $66 This is just a small taste of what’s on offer during the festival. For the full rundown of events, visit

Are you an Elvis fan? Have you been to Parkes?

If you are driving to Parkes, make sure your NRMA Membership is up to date or join here! Or give your vehicle a free health check with NRMA Premium Care before you head off.

Travelling overseas? Your Membership Card could help

Did you know that your NRMA Membership can also be used outside of Australia to access Roadside Assistance as well as other travel information and discounts?  

FLIPSIDE: The rear of your Membership Card is your gateway to unlocking discounts overseas

The NRMA, along with all of the state based motoring clubs in Australia, each have an association with The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).

Bringing together 237 national motoring and sporting organisations from 142 countries, the FIA is a non-profit organisation who are the governing body for world motor sport. 

Under the agreement, FIA clubs across the world agree to provide a broad range of services, including breakdown assistance to each other’s Members travelling abroad for a time frame of three months. These benefits will vary. However the International Driving Permit Directory provides a complete list of participating countries, including the United States of America along with their contact details.

As well as roadside services, many motoring clubs around the world are also active in AAA’s global discount and Show Your Card and Save Programs. This means that they may have partnerships throughout their countries where Members can obtain discounts on attractions, museums, hotels, retail and restaurants simply by showing their Membership Card. You can find a list of participating partners, for each international club

Has your NRMA Membership ever come in handy when travelling abroad? What have been some of the discounts or benefits you’ve used? 

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Driving interstate? Your NRMA Membership benefits explained


Ever worried what happens if you’re driving interstate and your car breaks down? Here’s a rundown on interstate benefits and how to get assistance from across the border as an NRMA Member.

Wherever you are in Australia, NRMA Road Assist is arranged through the same 13 11 11 phone number, which diverts calls to the relevant state based motoring club. Each affiliate club will gather all the relevant breakdown information and contact the originating club to confirm a valid Membership.

The National Roads and Motorists’s Association is affiliated with all six state based Motoring Organisations, which include:AAA map

motoring clubs

Under the reciprocal arrangements, NRMA Members have access to affiliated clubs’ standard levels of Road Assistance Services.These benefits differ from the entitlements NRMA Members receive for breakdowns in NSW and ACT.

  • AANT and RAASA Standard benefits include assistance to mobilise vehicles, 8km towing in metropolitan areas and 32km towing in country areas.
  • RACQ Club Care benefits include assistance to mobilise vehicles, 10km towing in any direction or up to 40km towing to the attending RACQ Contractor’s premises.
  • RACT Advantage benefits include assistance to mobilise vehicles, up to 15km towing in the city and up to 32km back to the nearest agent in the country.
  • RACV Roadside Care benefits include assistance to mobilise vehicles, 20km towing in metropolitan areas and 120km towing in country areas.
  • RACWA Standard benefits include assistance to mobilise vehicles and 10km towing in “Guaranteed Service” (city) areas, and 80km of travel to mobilise vehicles and 80km towing in “Non-Guaranteed Service” (other) areas.

Members can also receive free maps and discounted attraction tickets, when showing a current club Membership Card.

NRMA Premium Care and Premium Plus Members, are however entitled to receive the same towing entitlements Australia Wide, which includes 50kms metropolitan and regional towing as well as 100kms free remote towing. To arrange these benefits, a current Premium Care Member can contact the Premium Care hotline on 1300 772 273 from anywhere in Australia.

Premium Care and Premium Plus Membership holders can also access up to $3000 worth of Major Mechanical Assistance, including car hire, accommodation and passenger transport. These benefits are available to assist when a major mechanical breakdown occurs more than 100kms from home which cannot be repaired in less than 24 hours. This benefit is also available for Traveller Care Members.

Therefore, if you are regularly travelling greater distances, including interstate, or tow a caravan, Premium Care or Premium Plus may be a better suited option.

Have you ever needed to call Roadside Assistance when interstate? How would you rate your experience? 

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Seeing red: have your say on NSW’s worst roads

NRMA Seeing Red on Roads Annual SurveyHave you ever been behind the wheel and found yourself frustrated by congestion, a detour due to roadworks, pot holes or other delays?

More than 15,000 frustrated Members had their say last year in our annual Seeing Red on Roads survey. In 2013, both a federal election year and the third of our campaign, we want even more people to get behind the survey.

Over the last two years of the campaign, our Members have consistently flagged the Pacific and Princes Highways as the worst roads in the state. In response, we’ve seen record levels of funding committed by the government to start fixing both these roads.

In fact, since NRMA’s first Seeing Red on Roads campaign in 2011, governments have committed over $1.8 billion to fix the Pacific Highway and $240 million to fix the Princes Highway.

The NSW Government has also announced its WestConnex Project to fix the road NRMA Members voted as the worst in Sydney – Parramatta Road.

These major announcements show that our campaign works!

Although we’ve made a great start in getting these dangerous roads upgraded, there’s no better time than an election year to ensure NSW secures its fair share of federal road funding.

We encourage every NRMA Member to take part in the Seeing Red on Roads survey. With your support we can help make sure NSW gets much needed road investments.

Are the pot holes on your local street driving you nuts? Is the snail paced traffic during peak hour on your local motorway frustrating you?

Will the Pacific Highway come out number one again or have the recent upgrades provided enough relief for North Coast motorists?

Below are the Top 10 Most Frustrating Roads in 2012 as voted by you. Click on the image below to enlarge.



5 rest stops for your next family road trip

Road trips make for amazing family experiences and memories. In my family we’re known for just jumping in the car and driving for a spontaneous day out, as well as planned long road trips interstate or through the countryside.

A road trip isn’t the time to rush. Making plenty of stops is vital for safety and also, as parents around the country know, spending a little time keeping the kids happy will pay off during the long driving stretches.

Here’s how to make a rest stop work for the whole family:

Anyone on a road trip with children will attest to how difficult it is to drive past a country town’s local playground without dozens of requests to stop for a play.

Try timing meals and scheduled rests with towns likely to have playgrounds, and perhaps incorporate a picnic lunch with a play stop. If there aren’t any parks around (or if that isn’t your kids’ thing) grab a football, cricket bat or a kite, or even just have a family race on a local oval. Even a half an hour play means the kids will thank you – and you’ll be pleased you took the time to keep them happy.

Driver swap stop

It’s pretty tiring being in the same seat for an entire road trip, so if you have a long way to go you’ll need to give the navigator and music selector a break. I mean, the driver. The driver!

Seriously, the exhaustion of focusing on the road can creep up on drivers so you need to set a time limit on yourself rather than wait to feel the need to change gears from the pilot to the passenger. NRMA recommends stopping at least every two hours to avoid fatigue setting in.

If you don’t have anyone to share the driving with you’ll need to counteract the fatigue even more proactively. Some drivers are happy to take a quick power nap at rest stops, while others won’t have this option (when travelling with kids). In that case, sleep stops will mark the end of the day and a place to stay, and it’s time to get a good night’s sleep before heading off the next day.

Food stop

My husband prides himself on knowing the towns with the best bakeries, his specialty being great coffee, a good pie and a donut. Whether that suits your tastebuds or you’d prefer a fresh salad roll or a great café meal, stopping for food regularly is one of the best things you can do to rejuvenate the driver and keep the passengers satisfied.

Keep snacks in the car for in between meal stops – there isn’t a recipe for a miserable road trip truer than a backseat full of hungry kids – and make sure you let the family know when stops are planned so they can gear up their tastebuds for that perfect country bakery.

One tip, however: avoid rich foods and big milk drinks if you still have lots of driving ahead. No more details needed, just trust me on that one.

Dance stop

When my daughter was eight months old, we embarked on a road trip from Melbourne to Alice Springs. She was crawling around at the time – not a developmental stage conducive to being placed on the red dirt of the outback – and so we took to taking ‘dance stops’.

The dancing stop involves pulling to the side of the road, getting everyone out of the car and leaving the doors open. Then the music is cranked up and you dance with the kids; the young ones are spun around in your arms, and any older kids shake their thing alongside you. An amazing way to boost the fun mood of a road trip and get rid of any excess energy, and it also means you don’t have to push on to the next town before stopping for a break, which NRMA lists as one of the biggest potential dangers of country driving.

Sightseeing stop

Choose some things you want to stop and see along the way, and combine this with some spontaneous stops to see the sights.

This will not only get you out of the car – perhaps for a short walk, an exciting new sight, or even just a few snaps on the camera – but also keep you excited about the reason you’re out on the road. That is, to see new things and enjoy the experience. It’s easy to get caught up in getting the kilometres behind you, but don’t forget to stop and refresh the whole family with some views of our amazing countryside.

Do you have The NRMA‘s legendary Road Assist? Don’t get caught without it.

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