High Island is a large, highly volcanic island of the coast of Southland, east of mainland New Shetland. It is sparsely inhabited. There are densely forested areas in the west, whereas the eastern part consists of large, rocky valleys and magnificent cliffs without any vegetation except grasses and mosses. The island experiences problems of over-grazing resulting in the impoverishment of moorland and upland habitats and a loss of native woodland, caused by the large numbers of sheep.
Currently, there is one town (Waterford) and a couple of villages on the island. The island has only a couple of thousand inhabitants that live mostly on the northern side of the island. The biggest population groups are Welsh, Scottish, Croatian and Krai. Many youth left the island in the past years and there are few adolescents on the island, whose population is rapidly aging.
The island is traditionally divided in three regions: the Waterfordside, the Cliffside and High Island Forest. The northern part of the island, the Waterfordside, is the most densely populated part of the island, and most villages are situated in this area, that is well-connected by asphalt roads. The rest of the island is a bit more difficult to access as most roads are very narrow and maintenance budget cuts have prevented renewal of this part of the island infrastructure.