Drones (remotely piloted aircraft)
It is an offence to fly drones (remotely piloted aircraft) South Australia’s national parks, conservation parks, game reserves, recreation parks or regional reserves and marine park restricted access zones without a permit. Permits are considered for scientific research and commercial filming only.
To use a drone for scientific research, you will need to apply as part of your scientific research application.
Commercial filming or photography
To use a drone for commercial filming or photography, you will need to apply as part of your commercial filming and photography permit application.
Other important information
There are also restrictions for using drones near whales and other marine mammals.
Aircraft are not permitted to land or take off within a national park or reserve.
If you are planning on flying a plane over the state’s national parks it is important to note that there are minimum height restrictions in place for some of these parks.
Low flying aircraft can severely disrupt resting and breeding animals. They also take away from the remote wilderness experience that many of our parks offer. To protect these areas while maintaining public safety, Fly Neighbourly Advice (FNA) parameters have been developed detailing the minimum flight heights and offset distances around identified sensitive areas.
All aircraft and drone pilots
All pilots are expected to fly in accordance with the FNAs, which have been approved by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (emergency services may be exempt).
In South Australia, the following areas are affected by an FNA:
- Head of the Bight (1 May – 31 October, annually)
- Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park and Althorpe Island National Park
- Kangaroo Island
- Waitpinga Cliffs (1 June to 31 December, annually)
- Kati Thanda – Lake Eyre National Park
Full details of FNAs are available from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
Report unsafe drone operations
CASA offers an online form, allowing you to report unsafe drone use that may violate safety regulations.
CASA-verified drone safety apps offer insights on drone-friendly zones and no-fly areas.
CASA also provide a range of useful factsheets about flying drones safely.
For insights on how drones impact wildlife and pets, the RSPCA has useful information available.