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Can You Fly a Drone in Kings Park?

In Western Australia, Kings Park is a 988-acre park (399.9 hectares) with views of Perth Water. Combining bushland, botanical gardens, and grassed parkland all in one, it’s quite a wonder to behold.

Can you fly your drone in Kings Park?

Recreational pilots can’t fly drones in Kings Park, but commercial pilots can by contacting the Botanic Gardens & Parks Authority, filling out a Commercial Filming and Photography form, and being approved.

In today’s article, we’ll unpack the rules for using a drone in Kings Park, including an explanation of how to apply for a permit.

We’ll also refresh you on Australian drone flight laws, so make sure you check it out!

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Can drones fly in Kings Park?

The Botanic Gardens & Parks Authority, abbreviated as BGPA, in conjunction with the Government of Western Australia, oversees activities in Kings Park.

Depending on what kind of drone pilot you are, according to this conditions of use page[1], you may or may not be able to set foot in the park with your drone.

Let’s take a closer look.

Recreational drones

Do you plan to visit Australia for a fun vacation with family or friends? As much as you may wish you could spend part of your time in Kings Park flying your drone, the BGPA strictly forbids it.

According to the aforementioned conditions of use, “The ‘hobby’ use of drones or UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) can be a nuisance and a safety risk to other visitors. As a result, recreational drone use is not supported in Kings Park or Bold Park.”

For the curious readers out there, Bold Park is another Perth park near Kings Park.

The BGPA manages both parks and likely included that part about Bold Park to prohibit drone pilots from park-hopping in the hopes of flying their drone somewhere in the vicinity.

Commercial drones

The rules differ if you’re all business on your trip to Australia. The BGPA allows commercial drone pilots in Kings Park, but you must have a permit.

In other words, you must complete the Commercial Filming and Photography application form, which you can find here. Then the BGPA must approve your application. 

The form requests all the standard details, including:

  • Your full name
  • Your address
  • Your email address
  • Daytime and mobile phone numbers
  • The date and time of your drone flight event and how many adults and children will attend
  • The purpose of the event (with a request to include a separate page if you need to go into great detail)
  • What you’re photographing or filming specifically
  • Several locations within Kings Park you’d like to use for flying, including precise times of when you’d use those areas (select up to four areas)
  • A list of your equipment, including sound equipment, a camera and tripod, or a handheld camera
  • The nature of the project, such as a student project, not-for-profit project, or commercial project
  • The total number of required hours

You also have to pay a fee. Not-for-profits pay $80 AUS an hour, student projects are free if you have a valid ID, and commercial photographers or filmmakers pay $200 AUS an hour.

Applying for the permit does not guarantee you’ll receive it. You must receive written confirmation of such from the BGPA, and only then can you operate your drone in Kings Park for a commercial project.

If you get approved to use a drone in Kings Park, you have to agree to the following film and photography terms and conditions:

  • “Part 5: Section 28 of the Botanic Gardens and Parks Regulations 1999 states; A person must not, without permission, take still or motion pictures on the designated land by photographic or electronic means for: a.) The purpose of public display, broadcast, or transmission; or b.) Use in the promotion of sales of goods or services.
  • Filming or photography of the State War Memorial precinct requires written permission from RSLWA…
  • Our bushland is sensitive, please remain on pathways and grassed areas at all times…
  • Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority must be acknowledged in all credits.
  • Proof of your approved booking (including written confirmation and receipt) is required throughout your visit.”

What happens if you fly a drone in Kings Park illegally?

Kings Park limits drones for good reason. Up to two-thirds of the park includes conserved native bushland. If just anyone could venture into the park, the BGPA could not guarantee the conservation status of those lands.

More so than just that, the BGPA cites in its ruling on recreational drone flights that its visitors find drones annoying.

Whether you agree with that sentiment (and we’re sure you don’t), most people don’t want drones in the park. That’s why they’re only allowed in limited commercial circumstances.

Violating the law and flying a drone recreationally or commercially without a permit in Kings Park will lead to consequences.

You’ll usually receive a fine for your efforts. Initial fines for violating drone rules can cost up to $1,100 AUD according to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, the governing drone body in Australia.

If your case goes to court, you could have to pay even more expensive fines, up to $11,100 AUD!

Australian drone laws for your trip

The following drone laws will make your permitted flight(s) in Kings Park safer as you stick within CASA’s guidelines.

» MORE: Best Places to Fly a Drone in Melbourne

Don’t create hazards with your drone

Remember, your drone isn’t exactly welcome in Kings Park. You want to remain as unobstructed as possible. That means you shouldn’t create hazardous conditions with your drone.

Don’t fly near any other aircraft you see–manned or unmanned–don’t get too close to the bushlands or other protected park property, and don’t fly your drone in such a way as to create risk to people.

Fly no higher than 120 meters over ground level

From the ground up, Australia drone law permits your drone to fly 120 meters or 393.7 feet max. If you’re unsure if you should fly higher than you are, then you probably shouldn’t!

Don’t fly over people

To maintain privacy and maximize the enjoyment of others you’re sharing Kings Park with, never use your drone to whiz over other people’s heads. CASA forbids it.

Keep 30 meters from people

In fact, you shouldn’t fly your drone too close to people in the first place. You must keep a reasonable distance of 30 meters or 98.4 feet from people when visiting Kings Park and flying your drone elsewhere in Australia.

Maintain a visual line of sight on your drone

As a drone pilot, you’re responsible for keeping a close eye on your drone.

nce it goes outside your line of sight, you can’t guarantee that you can control the drone anymore, so only fly your drone where you can see it for as long as you can keep tabs on it.

Have the right drone license and registration

Commercial pilots in Australia with drones weighing over 25 kilograms but not more than 150 kilograms must have a remote pilot license or RePL for short.

First, you need an aviation reference number, then you have to hook up with a RePL training provider. After studying, you’ll take your RePL training course with required theory and practical skills components.

Did you pass? Your training provider will obtain your license, and then you can fly.

Well, you can fly soon, that is. Any business use of drones requires registration. If your drone weighs 500 grams or under, you don’t have to pay to register the drone with CASA.

However, heavier drones have an accompanying registration levy of $40 AUS.

Do not use your drone after dark

CASA only permits drone pilots to fly during daylight hours. That goes for Kings Park and wherever else your Australian travels with your drone may take you.

Only fly one drone at a time

If you own several drones in a fleet, which commercial pilots often do, CASA only allows you to use one drone at a time.

Respect others’ privacy

People deserve their privacy even if a drone is nearby. Besides the aforementioned rules about flying over others’ heads and keeping a reasonable flight distance, you should also be respectful of civilians and let them have their privacy.

Conclusion

Kings Park in Western Australia features preserved lands and attracts huge swathes of visitors, so unsurprisingly, the park bans recreational pilots from using drones. Commercial pilots must first apply for a permit. If you’re turned down, you can’t fly either.

Remember CASA’s drone regulations when you launch your drone and have a safe flight!

References:
1. Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (link)