North West Slopes
New South Wales
Federal division(s)Parkes
Localities around North West Slopes:
Far West South Downs Northern Tablelands
Far West North West Slopes New England
Orana Central West Central Tablelands

The North West Slopes region of New South Wales, Australia, refers generally to the area west of the Northern Tablelands, to the north of the Central West region and to the east of the Far West region. Despite its name, the region is in north-central New South Wales, corresponding generally to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology's forecast area of North West Slopes and Plains. The administrative areas of the region include the city of Tamworth, Gunnedah, Moree, Narrabri and Inverell.[1]

The region is higher, hillier and wetter on its eastern edge than on its western edge. The North West Slopes are situated on various tributaries to the Darling River, such as the Barwon, Gwydir, and Namoi Rivers, which rise in the Great Dividing Range country to its east.

The region has one city, Tamworth. The North West Slopes also includes the towns of Gunnedah, Warialda, Manilla, Boggabri, Mungindi, Narrabri, Moree, Quirindi and Wee Waa; and many villages.[2]

It has traditionally been a major wheat-growing area, but in recent decades irrigated crops, especially cotton, have become significant. The primary exports are cotton, coal, beef, lamb and pork, cereal and oilseed grains.

The North West region is traversed by the New England Highway, the Newell Highway, the Kamilaroi Highway, the Oxley Highway and the Gwydir Highway; and by railways such as the Main Western railway line, linking Bourke to Sydney with connections to the port of Newcastle. The Main North railway line trains no longer continue to the Queensland border, but Werris Creek, Tamworth and Kootingal are still served by the NSW TrainLink Xplorer service between Sydney and Armidale.

Mount Kaputar National Park, near Narrabri, is within the North West Slopes region.

This region is often included as part of the New England region. Sometimes the region is also known as the New England North West[3] or less commonly the Northern Inland Region[4] when it also includes the Northern Tablelands.

Local Government Areas include Gunnedah Shire, Liverpool Plains Shire, Moree Plains Shire, Narrabri Shire, Gwydir Shire and Tamworth Regional Council.


The climate here is at the mercy of the Horse Latitudes high pressure belt for the grand majority of the year. Thus a distinct summer rainfall peak is observed, in stark contrast to its more poleward counterpart, the South West Slopes (wherein a spring or winter rainfall peak is observed). The range of maximum temperatures between seasons is also strikingly narrower than that observed in the South West Slopes.

Summers are very long, stable and hot, with severe thunderstorms a frequent occurrence. Winters are considerably sunnier than those farther south; cold by nightfall, though mild and sometimes even warm by day; constituting a great diurnal range and frequent, oftentimes heavy frost.

Snowfall is a very rare occurrence in the lowlands (snow has been recorded as low as Gunnedah), though it occurs annually on high-points such as the Nandewar Range and Coolah Tops. Even so, it is far from a regular occurrence on account of the region's northern latitude. In nearly all cases, a snowfall event this far north requires a cut-off low system, in which the snow-bearing frontal rainbands bypass the southern alpine regions, instead advancing NNE'ly up the centre of New South Wales.

See also


  1. ^ "Forecast areas". Bureau of Meteorology. Archived from the original on 12 November 2009. Retrieved 6 November 2006.
  2. ^ New South Wales Forecast Areas Map Archived 12 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 2009-10-14
  3. ^ New England North West Retrieved 2009-9-27
  4. ^ Northern Inland Region Retrieved 2009-10-7