With more than 500 national parks – covering an astonishing 28 million hectares – it’s no surprise that Australia has some of the most beautiful national parks in the world. In this article, we provide an overview of the current position of each Australian State and Territory when it comes to the rules on flying drones in national parks. We start by looking at NSW and gradually make our way clockwise around this great land Down Under.

New South Wales

Drone flying is restricted in NSW National Parks.

hamish weir 624652 unsplash
Photo by Hamish Weir from Unsplash

You will need approval if you want to fly a drone in a national park or reservice.

You can find the application form and the complete NSW Office of Environment & Heritage policy on flying drones in national parks here.

ACT

The ACT Government website for drone use in the ACT unfortunately does not include a drone policy when it comes to flying drones in national parks. According to the website, the best place to get information is from this CASA webpage.

Victoria

According to Parks Victoria, “recreational use of RPAS by the general public is prohibited on Parks Victoria managed land.” RPAS means remotely piloted aircraft systems (drones).

A permit is required to film commercially.

Tasmania

According to Parks & Wildlife Services (PWS) Tasmania, “the operation and use of drones on reserved land is not permitted” unless written permission has been granted by PWS.

PWS states that there are exceptions for commercial and event filming, and scientific research. An application is required to gain the benefit of these exceptions.

christine mendoza 527599 unsplash
Photo by Chritsine Mendoza from Unsplash

South Australia

According to National Parks South Australia, “it is an offense to fly drones (remotely piloted aircraft) in South Australia’s national parks, reserves and marine park restricted access zones without a permit.

Exceptions have been made for scientific research and for commercial filming or photography. An application is required to gain the benefit of these exceptions.

Western Australia

According to the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, there are 5 rules that need to be complied with while “using your RPA in Western Australia’s national parks and other conservation reserves managed under the Conservation and Land Management Act 1984 (CALM Act)”. These rules include complying with all of CASA’s legislative and regulatory requirements and complying with the CALM Act.

As part of the CALM Act, the relevant district office needs to be contacted prior to each RPA flight.

The website includes this Park Finder map to help you determine whether or not you are flying an RPA on CALM Act land.

billy pasco 427970 unsplash
Photo by Billy Pasco from Unsplash

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory government website states that “you need a permit to land or use any kind of aircraft in a park or reserve in the Northern Territory (NT), including drones.

Information about obtaining permits is included on the website. The website also includes other rules about flying drones in Northern Territory parks and reserves.

Queensland

Last but certainly not least, Queensland has the most relaxed rules out of all Australian states and territories.

According to the Business Queensland government website, “filming and photography activities involving up to 10 people without prescribed structures do not require a Commercial Activity Permit”.

We hope you found this article helpful. We will aim to keep this information up to date as and when we become aware of changes.

Let us know in the comments below what your experience has been like flying drones in national parks across Australia. If there is anything we’ve missed, leave a comment or get in contact through our social channels.

Feature photo by Josh Withers from Unsplash.