The Gunnedah Shire is situated 264 metres (866 ft) above sea level and is very flat; the tallest hills are 400 metres (1,300 ft) to 500 metres (1,600 ft) above sea level. The climate is hot in summer, mild in winter and dry, although heavy rain in catchment areas occasionally cause flooding of the Namoi River. Major floods cut transport links to Gunnedah, briefly isolating it from the outside world. The Gunnedah area is noted for its abundance of native wildlife, including kangaroos, echidnas and koalas. Koalas can often be found in trees within the town, as well as in the surrounding countryside with the help of signs placed by the local tourist centre.
Gunnedah Shire Council is composed of nine Councillors elected proportionally as a single ward. All Councillors are elected for a fixed four-year term of office. The Mayor is elected by the Councillors at the first meeting of the Council. The most recent election was held on 8 September 2012, and the makeup of the Council is as follows: