The principal topographic feature of New South Wales is the series of low highlands and plateaus called the Great Dividing Range, which extend from north to south roughly parallel to the coast of the Coral and Tasman seas of the South Pacific Ocean.
The two main categories of rivers in New South Wales, are those that rise in the Great Dividing Range and flow eastwards to the sea, the Coastal NSW Rivers; and those that rise on the other side of the crest of the range and flow westward, the Inland NSW Rivers. Most of the inland rivers eventually combine into the Murray-Darling network of rivers, which drains to the sea in South Australia.
The following rivers are the longest river systems, by length.
|1||Murray||2,508||1,558||Riverina||Approx. 1,808 kilometres (1,123 mi) of the river course is located within NSW. Also Australia's longest river.|
|2||Murrumbidgee||1,488||925||Riverina||Approx. 1,429 kilometres (888 mi) of the river course is located within NSW. Also Australia's second longest river.|
|3||Darling||1,472||915||Far West||Entire course of the river is located in NSW. Also Australia's third longest river.|
|4||Lachlan||1,440||895||Central West and Riverina||Entire course of the river is located in NSW. Also Australia's fourth longest river.|
|5||Macquarie||960||597||Central West||Entire course of the river is located in NSW.|
|6||Barwon||700||435||North West Slopes||Entire course of the river is located in NSW.|
Due to the relatively close proximity of the Great Dividing Range to the eastern coast of New South Wales, in general, the coastal rivers are short, navigable only in their lowest reaches, if at all, and subject to flooding in periods of high rainfall. The inland rivers have little water, are also subject to flooding, and their limited resources are extensively used for irrigation in the more arid inland agricultural districts of the State. On all of the significant inland rivers, large dams have been constructed to regulate the water flow, to facilitate irrigation, and in some cases, to generate hydro-power.
For administrative purposes, the rivers are generally grouped into four major catchments defined by their drainage basin, and then a series of sub-catchments. The following is a list of the coastal rivers in New South Wales, in order from north to south, grouped according to catchment and sub-catchments, from mouth to upper reaches, organised by tributary:
The inland-flowing rivers in New South Wales can be considered in two groups. In the northern half of the state, a series of rivers rise on the western side of the Great Dividing Range. These rivers flow west and northwest and eventually combine into the Barwon, which becomes the Darling River further west near Bourke. The waters of the Darling River then flow south through the arid far west of NSW.
The second group of inland-flowing rivers in NSW rise in the southern part of the state, sourced predominately from the western and southern slopes of the Snowy Mountains and the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range, and combine directly with the Murray River, which forms the southern border of NSW with Victoria.
The two groups converge at Wentworth in the far south-west corner of the state, where the Murray River crosses the New South Wales/Victorian/South Australia border, east of Paringa in South Australia.
North-western New South Wales
South-western New South Wales
In the southwestern sector of the state:
- List of rivers of New South Wales (A-K) - Detailed listing of New South Wales rivers showing previous names and source locations for each river.
- List of rivers of New South Wales (L-Z) - Detailed listing of New South Wales rivers showing previous names and source locations for each river.
- List of rivers of Australia for an alphabetical listing including rivers in other Australian states