Northwood is located 8 kilometres northwest of the central business district, in the local government area of Lane Cove. It is situated on the northern side of the Lane Cove River between Woodford Bay and Gore Creek.

Northwood is named after Northwood House, which was built in 1878. The name was chosen because it is descriptive of its location, a woodland area in the north.

Northwood Wharf provides access to the inner Harbour ferry services and is popular for residents who commute to the CBD. The nearest railway station is St Leonards and buses run frequently through the area.

Northwood was the home of landscape artist Lloyd Rees for many years before his death in 1988. Many of his later paintings are of the area.