Highlands has an excellent Primary school, a CFA Depot and Community Hall, with tennis court attached. A small arboretum is located adjacent to the School.
Active organizations include the School Council, Hall Committee, Highlands-Caveat CFA, Land Care, Road Committee, the Purple Sage Group, Highlands Arts Experience (HiArts), Spinning Group, Highland Scribblers and Highland Ramblers.
Regular train services to Melbourne and the northeast, including to Sydney all operate out of Seymour. A regular bus service to and from Melbourne comes through Yea. School buses service the area travelling to Yea and Seymour schools as well as the Highlands Primary School.
Seymour and Yea are the closest shopping areas, with supermarkets in each town open seven days a week. Most other small shops close lunchtime Saturday. Larger shopping areas are located at Wangaratta and Shepparton approximately 90 minutes away, with Melbourne less than 2 hours away.
Municipal libraries are available in Seymour and Yea.
Mail is delivered from Seymour (post code 3660) five days a week throughout the district. The team that delivers mail will also picked up mail to be posted if correctly stamped. When a pick up is required the resident hangs out a red coloured sign on their mailbox.
Though there is no regular rubbish collection, a transfer station is located on the Ghin Ghin Rd. and at Seymour. Fees do apply on some items.
The Highland/Caveat is covered by the Murrindindi and Mitchell Shires.
Since settlement in the late 19th century, the principal land use has been grazing - fine wool merino and beef cattle. At the beginning of the 21st century systems of agricultural were slowly becoming more intensive. There are now a number of successful vineyards with others planned; blue gum plantations and one large pine plantation. In addition there are small olive plantations and an organic free range poultry farm. Some residents operate small businesses from their properties, such as metal engineering and IT.
A large proportion of the land has been sub-divided and more than half the population lives or works elsewhere, coming to hobby farms at the weekend. A considerable proportion of the land is also retained as woodland forest.
The main roads are now all sealed. The minor roads are likely to remain gravel for the foreseeable future.
The climate is pleasant in summer and cold in winter, with the occasional snowfall. The rainfall is approximately 900mm per annum (Melbourne city 655mm).
A feature of the area is reliable water from springs, creeks and dams with a good underground supply.
The natural vegetation would be classified as open woodland, remnants of which exist along roadsides, in private property and in the two flora reserves (The Switzerland Flora Reserve and the Caveat Bushland Reserve). The indigenous trees include; Peppermint, Blue Gum, Manna Gum, Swamp Gum, Messmate, Blackwood, Silver and Black wattles. The outcrops of granite boulders make a beautiful landscape, with great views to the lower country.
There are healthy populations of native animals; koala, kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, tuans, sugar gliders and echidnas. Over 120 species of birds have been recorded in the last 35 years. Unfortunately there are also rabbits and foxes, which are targeted for eradication from time to time with the help of the Landcare group.
Little is known of the indigenous people of the Highlands area. Tools and artefacts have been found on some farms. The indications are that the Taungurong people spent a good deal of their time around the Goulburn River and ventured into the Highlands area for hunting particularly during the summer months. To date there has been no survey of Aboriginal sites of significance.
The community commemorates the Taungurong people through the Taungurong Creek Reserve, situated near the Highlands Primary School.
In the 1840's an area of approximately 100,000 acres (40,500 hectare) was taken up in pastoral leases. Four large unfenced holdings were created; 'Kobyboyn' held by Gideon Stewart; 'Dropmore' by Henry Kent Hughes; 'Ghin Ghin' by Campbell; and 'Switzerland' by Donaldson and Urquart.
It was not until the 1880's that the rural areas were surveyed into roughly 320 acres (a square mile).
The original pioneering families were Lade, Chisholm, McAlpin, Minchinton, Yorston and Zoch families. The circle of stones situated at the Highlands intersection commemorates these pioneer families and were set in place on the occasion of the centenary of the district in 1982. Descendents of these families still live in the area. A more detailed description of the stones can be found on the notice board outside the Community Hall.
A detailed history of the area entitled "Highlands 1882-1982" was produced by Helen McCall and a supporting committee at the time of the District's Centenary, unfortunately it is no longer in print. Plans are in hand to update this history.
Highlands is situated on the tip of the Australian great dividing range, 24 kms. north of Yea and 35 kms. east of Seymour on a granite plateau with an elevation up 600 metres. The highest point is Wattle Hill at 680 metres. It lies at the southern end of the Strathbogie Ranges, with ready access to much of north and north east Victoria.