The Central Tablelands in New South Wales is an geographic area that lies between the Sydney Metropolitan Area and the Central Western Slopes and Plains. The Great Dividing Range passes in a north/south direction through the Central Tablelands and includes the Blue Mountains. The region shares borders with the Hunter, Central West Slopes and Plains, Southern Tablelands, North Western Slopes and Plains, the Sydney Metropolitan Area and the Illawarra.

Several main State highways pass through the Central Tablelands including the Great Western Highway, Mitchell Highway, Golden Highway, Castlereagh Highway and the Mid-Western Highway. The main western railway line from Sydney passes through the Central Tablelands, east to west direction initially on the Blue Mountains railway line, then continuing with the Main Western Railway line.

The main towns within the Central Tablelands, listed by population, include Orange, Bathurst, Mudgee, Springwood, Katoomba, Lithgow, Portland, Blackheath, Gulgong, Wellington, Cowra, Oberon, and Ben Bullen.


In May 1813 explorers Blaxland, Wentworth, and Lawson setout to discover the inland to the west of Sydney, over the Blue Mountains. The group climbed the mountains and on reaching the top of the ridges they continued west to a point later named Mount Blaxland (south of present day Rydal). This was the first access by Europeans to the area now known as the Central Tablelands. Governor Macquarie ordered a second expedition, in November 1813, led by government surveyor George Evans, this second expedition travelled further and reached the site now known as the city of Bathurst.

Geology and Landforms[]

The Central Tablelands region of New South Wales lies largely within the Lachlan Fold Belt tectonic zone.

Eastern portion (surrounding Katoomba)[]

The eastern portion of the Central Tablelands covers the area known as the Blue Mountains, New South Wales to the east of the Sydney basin. The area is drained by many creeks and rivers, including Cox's River, Jenolan River, Kanangra River, and Kowmung River which in turn flow into the Hawkesbury-Nepean river system. The Blue Mountains are an extensive Triassic sandstone plateau rising to 1,100 metres (3,609 ft) near Mount Victoria. The Blue Mountains terminate in a north south line of cliffs that form the eastern edge of the Hartley, Kanimbla and Megalong Valleys.[1]

Western portion (surrounding Bathurst)[]

Two physical components comprise the Central Tablelands region surrounding Bathurst; the Bathurst Basin and the Tablelands areas. They are drained by the Macquarie, Turon, Fish and Campbells Rivers to the north and Abercrombie and Isabella Rivers to the south. The central basin area of the Bathurst area is mainly granite soils while in the north area sandstone, conglomerates, greywacke, siltstones, limestones and minor volcanos predominate. The south is more complex geology with siltstones, sandstones, greywacke, shales and chert, basalt and granite intrusions and embeded volcanic and limestones. Underlying Bathurst is the dominant feature of Bathurst granite (intruded in the Devonian period) and at Mount Panorama and Mount Stewart basalt occurs.[2]

Topography of the region ranges from slightly undulating to rough and very steep country, approximately 30 km to the east of Bathurst is the folded and faulted sedimentary and metamorphosed formations of the Great Dividing Range which runs roughly north-south.[3]

Northern portion (surrounding Mudgee)[]

Geology of the area surrounding Mudgee and Gulgong forms part of the north eastern margin of the Lachlan Fold Belt tectonic zone.[4] This northern area is traversed by the Cudegong River which rises in the mountains of the Great Divide, flowing west into the Murray-Darling river system. At the head of the valley, to the east, high mountains are of volcanic origin, and capped in basalt lava flows deposited some 17 million years ago. Nullo Mountain is the most extensive, and Mount Coricudgy the loftiest at 1,256 metres (4,121 ft). The high mountainous eastern area is a spectacular landscape with basalt peaks, sandstone ravines and rainforest gorges. This high land falls to the west into wide basins of agricultural country. The Cudgegong River collects the fertile basalt enriched volcanics from the mountains and deposits them in the broad fertile alluvial flat agricultural lands to the west.[5]



Flora and fauna[]


New South Wales can be divided into four broad landform components:

  • the coastal regions fronting the Tasman Sea in the east of the State
  • the highlands (elevated tablelands) which form part of the Great Dividing Range
  • the western (inland) slopes of the highlands, which form the main agricultural region of the State
  • the arid western plains

The four geographic components are then typically divided into north, central and southern areas based upon their location relative to Sydney.

This two-way subdivision gives rise to the generic pattern of regions:

See also[]

External links[]


  1. ^ Keith, D.A. (1988). "Floristic lists of New South Wales". Cunninghamia 2(1): 39-73. Retrieved November 10, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Bathurst Statistical Profile". Bathurst Regional Council. 2009. Retrieved 25 March 2011. 
  3. ^ Grant, C (April 2001). "Sedementary case study". Retrieved 27 March 2011. 
  4. ^ [ "Regional Geological Setting"]. Retrieved November 10, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Mudgee & Surrounds". Website. Greater Blue Mountains Drive. Retrieved November 10, 2012. 

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