Eucalyptus elata is a tall tree growing to 40m. It has rough, compact, dark grey bark, with narrow longitudinal fissures on the lower trunk. The bark on the upper trunk and branches is smooth, shedding in long ribbons often remaining in the crown, leaving a grey, cream-coloured or whitish surface. Flowering occurs from August to December and the flowers are white. It naturally grows along watercourses but sometimes also in undulating country, on rocky ridges or on scree slopes in forest. It grows near the coast and nearby tablelands in New South Wales and Victoria. Drought and frost hardy once established.