New Zealand is a beautiful country with picture-perfect scenery around every corner. Many of the people who hire a motorhome from Wilderness are photography enthusiasts. They want to capture New Zealand's majestic landscapes and scenic backdrops from behind a lens, and sometimes from above.
Drone use has been steadily increasing amongst motorhome travellers. It's a great way of capturing absolutely stunning footage of our picturesque country. Check out the drone footage in this epic video created by Dylan Brayshaw on his recent Wilderness motorhome holiday.
Drones are technically classed as aircraft, so although anybody can fly a drone, there are several important rules that all drone pilots are required to follow while in New Zealand to ensure the safety of others.
We understand that reading through pages of regulations can be time consuming and not very fun, especially when there are more exciting things to think about, like planning your motorhome trip! To make it easy for you, here's a list of the most important things to know before you fly a drone in New Zealand.
Please note: as a drone pilot in New Zealand, you are legally responsible for the safe conduct of every flight, and failure to abide by the rules could lead to criminal prosecution.
1. Always obtain permission from people
First and foremost, if you are flying in a public area, you must obtain permission from all people you are flying over. This is an important rule to ensure everyone's safety. You could also use this as an opportunity to strike up a conversation with locals and meet new people while you are here in New Zealand.
2. Obtain permission from private property owners
Make sure you are granted permission from any private property owners before you fly over their property. New Zealanders are known for their friendliness, so don't be afraid of approaching the property owner and asking.
3. Always fly safely, don't fly dangerously
This rule may seem common sense, but you would be surprised. Always fly safely because you are the person who is solely responsible for the safe conduct of each flight. Do not fly near power poles, around phone lines, over public gatherings, or in any location where potential hazards are present. It is best to fly in a big open area, and you're lucky because open spaces are easy to find in New Zealand.
4. Check your drone before each flight
Would you drive a car if you knew it had a flat tyre? Probably not. Treat your drone the same way. Check it before each flight to make sure there is no damage and it is in the best condition to fly. That way you also make sure your footage is going to be perfect.
5. Always keep your drone in your sight
Keeping safe is the first priority when flying a drone, so always keep your drone in sight while it is in the air.
6. Stay clear of airports, airfields and helipads
Drone rules in New Zealand state that you must stay at least 4km away from any nearby airports, airfields or helipads. Your drone will automatically lock itself if you attempt to fly any closer than 4km to an airport.
7. Keep clear of any aircraft
As well as staying clear of airports, make sure you keep clear of any aircraft. This could include other drones or small aircraft flying in the vicinity.
8. Always comply with Civil Aviation Rules
When flying your drone you must comply with Civil Aviation Rules at all times. The rules that all drone pilots need to be aware of are in Part 101 of the Civil Aviation Rules. Find them on the Civil Aviation website.
9. Never fly over people without permission
We have included this point twice because it is so important. While in New Zealand, do not fly your drone over people without their permission. It's just not nice.
10. Never fly over private property without permission
Again, this is so very important. Always ask permission from private property owners before flying your drone. This is one of the most common complaints we receive regarding drone use. If you are not granted permission, then drive around the next corner and we are sure you will find another scenic spot that is just as beautiful to capture.
11. Only fly in daylight
The hours between sunrise and sunset are the only time you are able to fly your drone. Never fly at night because it is unsafe and hazardous. Wouldn't you rather spend your evenings relaxing next to your motorhome, nursing a cold Kiwi craft beer and enjoying some classic New Zealand food? We know we would.
12. Don't fly higher than 120m above ground level
Finally, don't fly your drone higher than 120m above ground level (384 ft). The higher you go, the more unsafe the flying becomes, so it's best to only fly within the limit of 120m and only as high as you need to get the perfect shot, no higher.
Hopefully you now have a better understanding of the drone flying regulations in New Zealand. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch with us.