Carlingford is 22 kilometres north-west of the Sydney central business district in the local government area of City of Parramatta. Carlingford is in the Hills District and Northern Sydney regions.

Carlingford is amongst the middle of three different regions of Sydney. The suburb sits in the north-eastern outskirts of the Greater Western Sydney region and is on the south-eastern outskirts of the Hills District and western outskirts of Northern Sydney. The section of Carlingford east of Pennant Hills Road is considered part of the Northern Sydney region, while the rest of the suburb, west of Pennant Hills Road, is referred to as part of The Hills District.

The major Carlingford shopping and commercial areas are located on Pennant Hills Road. The main, two small to medium-sized shopping centres are Carlingford Court and Carlingford Village, (which has a JUSCO). There are several shopping strips across the suburb, including but not limited to; on the corner of Pennant Hills Rd and Marsden Road ('at the top' of Mobbs Hill), on Pennant Hills Road near Carlingford Railway Station ('at the bottom' of Mobbs Hill), on Mobbs Lane, to the north on Carmen Drive, and Carlingford North shops off North Rocks Rd near Pennant Parade.

Carlingford's diversity, service offerings, generally peaceful residential streets and good mix of nature and family amenities are all major positives that work in its favour.