Photo by david henrichs on Unsplash

No Drone Zones in Tasmania

By Craig Doumoruas

Published on 8 Aug 2019

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General News

'Funner' is not really a word, but when I think of some of the new technologies that have made their way into the world, I can't help but think that some things in life are now 'funner'.  Take, for example, the Drone!  A relatively inexpensive flying machine that is often equipped with excellent video recording capabilities. It has opened up a new way for everyone to see the world we live in, and for hikers and photographers it offers a new way to record their journeys. Many new (and excellent) videos have been developed from drone footage. You only need to ask a drone owner what they think of their drone, and they will tell you it's fun!

However, it's not fun for everyone, or everything. Amongst many complaints about drones, the invasion of people's privacy is a major one. People do not like to be spied upon. Another complaint is the noise they make. For some people, the noise itself can be very irritating.

Why are there Drone Restrictions?

The Parks and Wildlife Service of Tasmania (PWS) developed a drone usage policy that can be viewed on their website. In their very opening paragraph it states:

"The operation and use of drones on reserved land is not permitted unless specific written authority has been provided by the Parks and Wildlife Service."  

Their Policy outlines very reasonable reasons why drones should not be used in the regions they manage, including (but not limited to) National Parks. The problem for many people is it is often very unclear which areas within Tasmania fall under the jurisdiction of PWS.  Obviously, National Parks are 'no drone zones', but many other reserves are too.  Here is a list of the Land Tenures that the drone usage policy applies:

  • National Parks
  • Nature Recreation Areas
  • Nature Reserves
  • State Reserves
  • Regional Reserves
  • Historic Sites
  • Game Reserves
  • Conservation Areas

To put the governance of the no drone zone into perspective, 'about 42% of total Tasmanian land area' falls under the PWS jurisdiction.  For people who hike to waterfalls in our wilderness regions, it means many of those waterfalls are in the no drone zones.

What about public land not under PWS Jurisdiction?

The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE), and Sustainable Timber Tasmania manages public land. However, at the time of writing neither department had a drone usage policy on their websites. 

Other 'No Drone Zones' include regions manged by Hydro Tasmania, including Dams and Spillways. Local councils throughout Tasmania may enforce no drone usage at various places and landmarks. Also, drones must not be flown around airports and aerodromes.

So, which waterfalls can I fly a drone at?

We don't provide a categoric list of waterfalls where it is permissabe to fly a drone.  It is often very vague as to the legality of drone usage in areas managed by public government departments. However, for each documented waterfall on our website, what we include is a 'No Drone Zone' icon if the waterfall is located within a region looked after by PWS.

Note the Land Tenure and The No Drones Permitted iconNote the Land Tenure, and the No Drones Permitted icon that displays on the information list for waterfalls.

If you have any updates or further information, or corrections to this blog post, please leave a comment below.

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