I assume most of you reading this page are planning to travel to Australia and want to know what are the rules, laws for flying a drone in Australia. Good news is that, if you’re flying for drone for fun (as a hobby, recreational, or for non-commercial purposes), and your drone weighs less than 2 kg, you don’t need any prior approval or license.
However, there are a lot of rules to keep in mind when flying your drone in Australia. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll break them up into two sections:
Read both section carefully as you will be required to comply with them.
These are the general aviation safety rules to follow if your recreational drones weighs 2kg or less.
However, the it is the drone operator’s responsibility to ensure that they still adhere to the other guidelines that the app cannot determine, such as “you must only fly during the day and keep your drone within visual line-of-sight”, etc.
Once the drone operator has complied with the above general guidelines, it’s time to become aware of the local rules and regulations regarding flying drones. These additional rules could be in effect and enforced by local councils, national parks or state-based government organisations like environmental agencies.
Here are a few examples of what some of these local drone rules and regulations look like:
Local Australian drone laws and regulations may be difficult to find as they may not always be visible or displayed publicly.
Drone Laws in Australia TL;DR
A drone operator must satisfy both the General Guidelines and Local Rules and Regulations to legally, and safely fly a drone in Australia for recreational purposes.
There is an app that can help you comply with most of the General Guidelines and Aviation Safety Requirements. Download “Can I fly there?” for:
I personally felt that Australia is pretty strict about drones. Apart from the general guidelines, you always have to be aware of local rules and regulations about drones. It’s not always clear as to whether you can fly at a certain spot or not. It does require a bit of Googling to be honest.
For the initial half our vacation, I was happily flying my drone in locations that were absolutely secluded – away from crowds and any towns or cities. I was religiously checking the “Can I fly there?” app before take-off, until I met a local certified drone pilot on a beach who schooled me on local drone rules and regulations.
It then turned out that most of these gorgeous, secluded spots that are perfect for drone photography are technically no-fly zones as they are “reserves”. In fact, as you drive around Australia and Tasmania, you’ll notice plenty of green areas marked as “reserves” on Google Maps. In almost every state (especially Tasmania), these reserves are drone-free zones, even if there is no sign.
Some of the more popular reserves and parks, that are frequented by tourists clearly have signs. And here’s the messed up part – if you were to solely rely on the “Can I fly there?” app, it might tell you that it is safe to fly in reserve or park, even if there is a big sign that says no drones!
99 out of 100 times you could fly in these no-drone zones and get a away. But if you do get caught, you could be fined or worse, have your drone confiscated.
So, how can you be sure that you can fly your drone at a certain location? Read my advice below.
In order to be 99.99% positive that I complied with the drone laws in Australia and Tasmania, I followed these steps:
Drone laws in Australia can be a bit strict, but there’s good reason behind them. Given how abundant wildlife is in the country, the laws are there to protect birds and animals as much they are there to protect humans and privacy.
Yes, there should be no issues carrying your drone into any airport in Australia and Tasmania.
Just follow the standard safety requirements of hand-carrying any rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
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