16 March, 2020

Flying drones in Tasmania: the essential rules and regulations

Want to get some aerial images of this photogenic state? Check out our must-read guide about using drones in Tasmania first!

Think before sending your drone up for a beautiful bird’s-eye view of Tasmania. We’ve gathered the key requirements for private drone use so you can stay on the right side of the law. It’s all about keeping you, other people and animals safe and happy.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s golden rules

Best known by its acronym, CASA is the Australian government body that keeps our skies safe, including through rules about drones. Break them and you could cop a fine, or even jail time. Briefly, a drone should:


  • always be flown within your visual line-of-sight – seeing where it is on a screen isn’t enough.
  • never fly within 30 metres of other people, or at any height above them.
  • never fly higher than 120 metres above the ground – that’s about 35 floors up.
  • never fly within 5.5 kilometres of airports, or near emergency situations.
  • never fly in prohibited or restricted airspace; check the CASA-verified OpenSky website or app.


Read all the rules in detail on the CASA website.

No-go zones: national parks, reserves and conservation areas

The island state’s spectacular natural spaces seem perfect for drone photography and video, but chances are you can’t fly them there. It’s not only about allowing others to quietly enjoy these special places. Restrictions are also in place to avoid harm or distress to wildlife.


It’s illegal to fly drones anywhere managed by the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service. The organisation is responsible for the state’s 19 national parks, as well as hundreds of conservation areas and reserves. That means nearly half of Tasmania’s land is out of bounds, plus marine reserves. Find out more here.

What about other natural places?

Beyond the marine reserve no-go zones, Tasmania’ rules about flying near dolphins and whales apply to drones: never within 500 metres of these animals, and don’t approach them front-on or from behind.


Public land not managed by the Parks and Wildlife Service might require permission from the relevant authority. For example, flying a drone in Hobart’s Wellington Park, which includes kunanyi / Mount Wellington, means getting a permit first. They are only considered for those with an Australian remote pilot licence and relevant insurance. Find out more here.


Exceptions include areas managed by Hydro Tasmania which, apart from restrictions about flying near some infrastructure, only advises against rather than forbids recreational drone use.

What about built environments?

CASA’s rules make flying drones in urban areas and other built environments challenging, especially when it comes to avoiding people and aircraft. Whoever manages or owns a space might forbid the use of drones completely – as is the case with the Port Arthur Historic Site, for example, and Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service historic sites.


Want to get aerial imagery of Spirit of Tasmania? Contact the relevant port authority at least two business days ahead: TasPorts for Devonport or Victorian Ports Melbourne for Spirit’s northern home. At sea, the need to avoid flying near people makes drones a difficult proposition. You also aren’t allowed to fly one in front of the ship, and remember the rules about dolphins and whales, which also apply to Victorian waters.

Who’s in charge?

We’ve only covered some places where you might want to use a drone. For everywhere else, always find out who manages it and whether they have a drone policy, then get permission if required. That will always be the case for private land.


When you’re good to go, take care and have fun!


Information included in this blog is correct at the time of publishing. Please contact individual operators for further information.

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