The Northern Tablelands is a distinctive highland area of New South Wales with undulating hills, valleys, plateaus and mountains straddling the top of the Great Dividing Range. With an average elevation exceeding 1000 metres above sea level, the Northern Tablelands has a temperate climate with mild summers and cold winters with frosty mornings and occasional snowfalls. The major towns of Tenterfield, Glen Innes, Inverell, Guyra, Armidale, Uralla and Walcha all support productive rural communities predominantly producing beef, sheep and wool. Significant smaller industries include forestry, apples and stone fruit, potatoes, glasshouse tomatoes, dairy farms, alpacas and cool climate wineries.
The Northern Tablelands landscape is located either side of the watershed that runs along the top of the Great Dividing Range. Streams on the western side are the headwaters of the Murray-Darling Basin, while streams on the eastern side of the watershed flow down to the New South Wales North Coast.
The city of Armidale, located on the eastern side of the watershed, is a major centre for the Northern Tablelands. It provides a regional airport, medical services and educational facilities including the University of New England. The Northern Tablelands landscape is characterised by a mosaic of grazing lands and patches of remnant woodland, many of which support national and state significant threatened fauna and flora species and ecological communities.
The western boundary of the Northern Tablelands Local Land services region extends to between Warialda and Delungra at an elevation of 600 metres above sea level. The western side of the Northern Tablelands Local Land services region lays claim to diverse geology, soils and variable terrain which support a broad range of vegetation communities as well as a mix of livestock grazing and cropping enterprises including cereals, legumes and oil seeds.
The Northern Tablelands Local Land Services region is an Aboriginal landscape, and the Local land Services places a high value on Aboriginal involvement in landscape management. There are eight Aboriginal nations – Ngarabal, Dainggatti, Anaiwan, Kamilaroi, Banbai, Gumbainggir, Bigambul and Nganyaywana - incorporating various language dialects, which fall within the Northern Tablelands Local Land Services.
The Aboriginal Reference Advisory Group (ARAG) has been instrumental in progressing initiatives to advance Aboriginal people's involvement in landscape health. The ARAG comprises Aboriginal community members who represent their Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALCs)The Northern Tablelands Local Land Services recognises that Aboriginal people are respected members of the community and through their traditional ecological knowledge can contribute to maintaining and improving the natural environmental assets within the region.