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The Ultimate Guide to fly your drone in Brisbane Water National Park, NSW, Australia

Updated: Jul 23, 2019

🖐 In this blog post we’ll share all you need to know about Brisbane Water National Park, New South Wales, Australia. Give a 👍 at the end of this post & feel free to share your experience or any updates you might have in the Forum. Keep in mind that the content below is updated to the best of our knowledge & does not replace official sources & your research.

Suspended Bridge Cross
Suspended Bridge Cross

How to get to Brisbane Water National Park?

🚗 By car: the National Park is located about half way between Sydney and Newcastle only 10 mins off the M1 highway which makes it an ideal pit stop during your trip. If organising a return trip from either of the cities, allow yourself a small hour and a half each way.

🚄 By train: your best bet (although hard) would be to take the train up to Gosford and then ask for an Uber from the train station or walk the remaining 11 kms by foot.

Be aware that if you go there by car, it will cost you $8 for the day to park it there. 💡 If you intend to visit several parks in NSW, you might be better off buying an annual pass for $65.

Rock Natural Carving
Rock Natural Carving

What to do in Brisbane Water National Park?

Go Hiking

The park features several day trails featuring waterfalls and aboriginal sites.

  • The Great North Walk: the hike crosses the entire national park from North to South.

  • Piles Creek Loop Walk: a challenging grade 5 walk (maximum difficulty) featuring a couple of waterfalls and a suspended bridge. There are heaps of opportunities for you to get off track to find hidden gems (Just beware of the leeches, bring salt 💡).

Piles Creek Loop Walk
Piles Creek Loop Walk
  • Girrakool Loop Track: a short grade 3 walk of 45 mins featuring stunning scenery and waterfalls along your way.

  • Somersby Falls walking Track: a short grade 3 track of 200 m featuring a stunning river and waterfall.

Leask Creek Waterfall
Leask Creek Waterfall

Go Cycling

There are 2 main cycling paths in the National Park:

  • Warrah Trig cycling loop: 10 kms long allow about an hour and a half to complete it.

  • Tommos loop and Rocky Ponds cycling loop: 20 kms, it will take you 3 hours to complete.

Can I fly a drone in Brisbane Water National Park?

Brisbane Water National Park is located in New South Wales (NSW) which follows the common rules of the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). If you're looking for the unmanned aerial vehicle rules of Australia then click here.

As for a shortcut, no matter where in New South Wales (NSW), you should fly:

  • at a maximum altitude of 120 m above the ground.

  • away from private property, vehicles in movement, people or large crowds (including over beaches, stadiums or parks) & respect individuals' privacy.

  • at least 5.5 km away from airports (any airport, seaplane base or area where aircraft or helicopter take off & land) & give way to all other type of aircraft.

  • only during permitting weather & within your sight at all times.

  • away from areas where its use could interfere with police or first responders.

  • avoiding sensitive areas including government or military facilities.

Recreational drone use: flying your unmanned aerial vehicle in a national park comes under the competence of NSW Office of Environment & Heritage. You will need to ask to the park's manager if its alright before flying above any national park in NSW. The park manager may grant consent for the recreational use of a drone if:

  1. it will not annoy or cause risk to visitors, or invade their privacy

  2. it will not be a nuisance or cause risk to wildlife

  3. it will not interfere with park-management operations.

Commercial drone use: it is possible for you to fly there for commercial purposes (movie, aerial photography, etc.) but you must apply for a permit and have an Australian license to obtain it. More information available here.

The local NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service is located at the North entrance of the NP, near Girrakool Picnic Area:

  • 🕔 Opening Times: 9am to 5pm - Mon-Fri

  • Location: 59 Girrakool Rd, Somersby NSW 2250

  • Phone: (+61) (0) 2 4320 4200

Once you get the consent from the park manager, before flying, make sure to check the alerts for NSW National Parks in case of bush fires 🔥 for example as you should never fly next to rescue operation sites.

Where can I camp in Brisbane Water National Park?

❌ Unfortunately the National Park does not feature any official camp sites. If you push your luck and get caught, it will cost a minimum on the spot fine of $110.

✅ There is a picnic area for daytime only. The Girrakool Picnic Area is located at the north entrance and features picnic tables, electric barbecues (free to use) and tap water to clean behind you.

Girrakool Picnic Area
Girrakool Picnic Area

✅ Please leave a comment or update the Forum when you receive news and/or gain experience with your drone in Brisbane Waters National Park! Have fun and safe flight!


Disclaimer: Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information researched, we take no responsibility for any loss, harm or damage caused as a direct or indirect consequence of relying on this information. It is your responsibility to seek advice from qualified local & relevant authorities for needed information about local drone rules and regulations.

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