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A Guide to New South Wales (Sydney, NSW) Drone Laws and Rules

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

🖐 In this blog post we’ll share all known regulation around recreational drone use in New South Wales (Sydney, NSW). Give a 👍 at the end of this post & feel free to share your experience or any updates you might have in the Australia Drone Forum. Keep in mind that the content below is updated to the best of our knowledge & does not replace official sources & your research.

New South Wales drone laws and rules

New South Wales (NSW) 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.

🛫 To get to New South Wales, there is a high chance you will have to catch a plane, Qantas, Virgin Australia and Jetstar are pretty sweet with drones but would recommend you carry your batteries in fire proof bags for more safety.

💡 Smart! Get your drone batteries' firecase today and make sure you're complying with aviation safety rules.

This blog post will dig dive into New South Wales' specific locations where you can fly a drone safely. We will also uncover some secret spots where to fly within the biggest cities of the state & explain all specific permissions needed when flying above New South Wales' restricted areas.

But before anything, let's start with a little drone video to show how beautiful this corner of the world is (time to get some popcorn mate! 🍿🎬)

So where can I fly my drone in New South Wales (NSW)?

A short answer will be anywhere away from airports and national parks (unless authorisation). But thankfully there is a bit more info than this, thanks to the "Can i fly there" app made by CASA in cooperation with dronecomplier and kept up to date with punctual events so its probably good to keep this link handy with you.

✅ It is also available in the Google Play Store & Apple Store for mobile use (makes sense as we don't many of you flying with a desktop in their car trunk today 😜) Most main cities of New South Wales (NSW) are under strict regulations due to a heavy air traffic above or near them. But looking at the most populated cities there are a few good news 👌

Drone Fly Map Sydney

Drone Fly Map Sydney

In Sydney, Drones are strictly restricted without permission 5.5 kms anywhere around Sydney airport and next to the many heliports across the city. 🚨 Important note as the entire Harbour is under strict permission application only. This ban starts from Hornby Lighthouse and stretches all down to Ryde Bridge.

✅ Sweet spots to fly your UAV around Sydney:

  • Dee Why & Long Reef Point (be careful of the nearby private golf club as you will need permission to fly above this one).

  • French Forest & Davidson Suburbs which are free of any nearby heliports or hospitals

💡 Smart! Pack some spare drone batteries, before heading to Sydney and ensure yourself to have enough flying time there.

Drone Fly Map Newcastle

Drone fly map Newcastle

In Newcastle, drones are strictly restricted from use without permission within Newcastle's entire CBD & its Harbour as well as next to Williamtown airport, towards the North of the city.

✅ Sweet spots to fly your UAV around Newcastle:

  • Fern Bay (despite being in a restricted zone, the maximum altitude flight is set at 120 m which is the maximum you can fly your drone in Australia).

  • Anywhere South from Whitebridge (just avoid around Lake Macquarie Airport).

Australia Drone Travel Guide

Drone Fly Map Central Coast

Drone fly map Central Coast

✅ The Central Coast is a real drone heaven for UAV pilots as there are little restricted/controlled airspace above the city. So as long as you comply with CASA's rules, you should be sweet as here. Safe flying ! 🚁

Drone Fly Map Wollongong

Drone Fly Map Wollongong

In Wollongong, drones are strictly restricted from use without permission within Wollongong CBD & the airport's runway/corridors a little more South of the city.

✅ Sweet spots to fly your UAV around Wollongong:

  • South of Port Kembla (be careful of the nearby private golf club as you will need permission to fly above this one) & the North part of Lake Illawarra.

  • Anywhere North of East Corrimal as long as you follow CASA's recommendations.

Ready to go? Get yourself the right backpack to travel safely with your drone !

Flying a drone in NSW national parks & marine reserves.

✅ 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. After all, these are sanctuaries for animals & the idea is to leave them in peace in these preserved environments 👌 More info here.

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.

The list includes the famous ones such as:

  • Blue Mountains National Park

  • Jervis Bay National Park

  • Kosciuszko National Park (note the heliport which has a 5.5 km restricted zone around it independent from the National Park itself).

  • Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

  • Royal National Park

  • Seven Mile Beach National Park

  • Sydney Harbour National Park

  • & many more.. (there are 900+), find a complete list on Wikipedia

Watch out for sea mammals! 🐳

Marine life (& more particularly whales) in New South Wales is well looked after; you should fly no closer than 100 m from any sea mammals in New South Wales (🦈 Sharks are not sea mammals btw 🧐).

🤑 Fines for not respecting sea mammals' safety space will range from a AUD$300 on the spot fine and prosecution that can end up to a whopping AUD$110,000 for the worse cases.

💡 Smart! Water glare is a killer when flying above NSW coastal waters, make sure you have a lens filter before flying there.

Drone & Privacy Laws in NSW

CASA is pretty straightforward and transparent on this topic; they won't investigate any privacy concerns or claims as their job is restricted to aviation safety. The primary body in charge of privacy laws in NSW is the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner which in turn advises you to first complain to the organisation or agency causing you issues with a 30 days delay before escalating to them - find out more.

Once you got everything in order, you can start flying above Australia's awesome landscapes & create videos like this one:

World drone rules map; country by country

✅ Please leave a comment when you receive news and/or gain experience with your drone in New South Wales! Have fun and safe flight! #nsw #newsouthwales #regulation #law #laws #legislation

💡 You're a local, have a question or want to share a travel experience? Head to our Australia Drone Forum

Australia Drone Forum

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.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links meaning we will get a commission if you decide to purchase via them. This has no costs for you but helps Dronemade stay free for all.



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