🖐 In this blog post we’ll share all known regulation around recreational drone use in Queensland (Brisbane & the Gold Coast, QLD). Give a 👍 at the end of this post & feel free to share your experience or any updates you might have in the Australia Drone Discussion Group. Keep in mind that the content below is updated to the best of our knowledge & does not replace official sources & your research.
Queensland (QLD) 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 Queensland (QLD), 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 Queensland, there is a high chance you will have to catch a plane. Qantas, Virgin Australia, Tiger 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 Queensland's 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 Queensland' 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 Queensland (QLD)?
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 for "Can U fly there" app co-made by CASA 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 Queensland (QLD) 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 surprises & the most obvious cities are not necessarily the worse to fly your UAV in this state 👌
Drone Fly Map Brisbane
🚨 In Brisbane, drones are strictly restricted without permission anywhere within more or less 12 kms from the city's CBD. This is the toughest city to fly within in Australia due to the many heliports, its riverbed and the two airports located to the North and the South of the city.
✅ Sweet spots to fly your UAV around Brisbane:
Hard to find but there is one band from Mount Gravatt East towards the sea up to Ormiston. Be however cautious with Redland Hospital as you should never interrupt emergencies' services).
Restricted and controlled airspace areas tends to get easier from Albany Creek.
Within restricted zones, the city council proposes some parks where you can fly your drone up to 2 kgs in full safety, see a list here
💪 Brisbane council recently set up a guideline page to launch drones from its council parks. You can find the updated guide map below and more information here.
Drone Fly Map Gold Coast (Tweed Heads)
The Gold Coast (Tweed Heads) it is a pretty unique scenario. As the city stretches over 32 kms of coastline, the result is almost a whole coast inaccessible to recreational drone use. Combine this with Lamington National Park located in the South West and a restricted zone in the North West and you get a almost fully squared restricted zone with one good news, its centre 👌
✅ Sweet spots to fly your UAV around the Gold Coast:
As seen from casa.dronecomplier's map, its a real mission here but an almost impossible Utopian bubble is located from Gilston to Robina to Burleigh Heads to Austinville.
Burleigh Heads appears under restricted zones but the limit is set to 120 m altitude which is the maximum you can get in Australia (be aware that Burleigh Heads national park might have its own rules).
Drone Fly Map Sunshine Coast
✅ Sunshine Coast looks scarier than it is.. The airport's restricted 5.5 km zone is a no go but the further restricted zones from Kuluin to Mountain Creek is actually restricted to 120 m which is the highest you can in Australia. Further South becomes a little tricky due to the hospital's heliports.
💡 Water glare is a killer for aerial imagery, make sure you have a lens filter with you before flying over QLD waters.
Drone Fly Map Townsville
🚨 In Townsville, drones are strictly restricted without permission north of the river bed and south next to the to heliports (there is also no fly zone near Lake Ross). Important note that Magnetic Island, famous for tourists is also under a complete restricted zone.
✅ Sweet spots to fly your UAV around Townsville:
South of the city, along the coast from South Townsville you will be fine as long as you comply with CASA's guidelines to fly your unmanned aerial vehicle.
North of the city, along the coast from Bushland Beach you should be fine but just avoid going too far ashore as there is military training aerial space about 2 km in sea.
Drone Fly Map Cairns
🚨 In Cairns, you will have a hard time to fly your drone close to the city. Thanks to its popular tours and many aerial flights towards the Great Barrier Reef. We don't want to disappoint you but if you do not intend to leave the city or just include a tour to the Great Barrier reef than you you should probably leave your drone home.
Flying a drone in QLD national parks & marine reserves
✅ Flying your unmanned aerial vehicle in a national park or reserve of Queensland is authorised. However be mindful not to disturb local wildlife and other visitors. After all, these are sanctuaries for animals & the idea is to leave them in peace in these preserved environments 👌
The list includes the famous ones such as:
Daintree National Park
Great Sandy National Park (Fraser Island)
Lamington National Park
Noosa National Park
Springbrook National Park
WhitSundays Islands National Park
& many more.., find a complete list here
Watch out for sea mammals! 🐳 Marinelife in Queensland is strictly looked after; you should fly no closer than 300 m from any sea mammals in Queensland (🦈 Sharks are not sea mammals btw) 🧐 Further recommendations have been given such as avoiding to approach front ways or above (including the shade of your drone) the animal(s).
Drone & Privacy Laws in Queensland (QLD)
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 QLD 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:
💡 You're a local, have a question or want to share a travel experience? Head to our Australia Drone Discussion Group
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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