For other uses, see Highland (disambiguation).
Kirifuri Highland in Japan

The term highland or uplands is used to denote any mountainous region or elevated mountainous plateau. Generally speaking, upland (or uplands) tends to refer to ranges of hills,[1] typically up to 500-600 m. Highland (or highlands) is usually reserved for ranges of low mountains.

Highlands worldwide

Probably the most known highlands in the anglophone world are the Scottish Highlands in the United Kingdom, the mountainous region north and west of the Highland Boundary Fault. The Highland council area is a local government area in the Scottish Highlands and Britain's largest local government area.

Many countries have areas that are officially or unofficially referred to as highlands. Other than Scotland, these include parts Ethiopia, Kenya, Eritrea, Yemen, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Syria, Cantabria[2] and Nova Scotia (the latter being Latin for 'New Scotland' due to its resemblance to the country).

Synonymous terms used in other countries include high country, used in New Zealand, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and Southern Queensland in Australia, and parts of the United States (notably Western North Carolina), and highveld, used in South Africa.

Highland shrubs in Agua Fria National Monument, Arizona, USA

The highlands in Australia are often above the elevation of 500 metres. These areas often receive snowfalls through winter. Most of the highlands lead up to large alpine or sub-alpine mountainous regions such as the Australian Alps, Snowy Mountains, Great Dividing Range, Northern Tablelands and Blue Mountains. The most mountainous region of Tasmania is the Central Highlands area, which covers most of the central western parts of the state. Many of these areas are highly elevated alpine regions.

A spine of mountains runs the length of the island of New Guinea, forming a populous highlands region.

The highlands of Iceland cover about 40% of the country and are mostly inhospitable to humans. They are generally referred to as land above 500 meters.

Additionally, the mountainous natural region of the Thai highlands is found in Northern Thailand.

The Cameron Highlands are a highland area and hill station in Northern Malaysia.

Other worlds

Highland continents – or terrae – are areas of topographically unstable terrain, with high peaks and valleys. They resemble highlands on Earth, but the term is applied to much larger areas on other planets. They can be found on Venus,[3] Mercury, Mars and the Moon.

See also


  1. University of California Museum of Paleontology (1995 and later), upland, UCMP Glossary
  2. Ross, Mars; Cooper, H. Stonehewer (1885). "The Highlands of Cantabria; or, Three days from England". Open Library. London: S.Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington . p. 491. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  3. "The Highlands of Venus". HyperPhysics. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
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