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How to drone it like it’s hot in Queensland

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There’s a buzz in the air as the big wigs at CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) have relaxed the rules for drone hobbyists in Australia!

Our minds are humming with the possibilities of all the hot spots around Queensland we can now see from a bird’s-eye view. But as they say, with great power comes great responsibility, so let’s take a quick squiz at how you can safely and legally take to the skies.

If you’ve gone out and bought yourself a shiny new toy and are busy sorting through the manual, figuring out the ‘how-to’, we’re gonna make things really easy for you and break down the ‘where-to’ with the do’s and don’ts for using your drone in Queensland.

Vlasoff Cay

The best way to appreciate the magical Vlasoff Cay in Tropical North Queensland is to see it from above! Photo by @mattglastonbury

If your drone (UAV or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to CASA) weighs less than a 2L bottle of Maleny Dairies milk (2kg), you now have the green light to fly commercially without an RPA operator’s certificate (ReOC), or a remote pilot licence (RePL). You will just need to stick to the same regulations as the hobbyists plus register your plan with CASA, so here is a checklist for you to tick off.

8 drone rules you need to know

• When the sun goes down, so should your drone, flying is only allowed during daylight hours.

• If you can’t physically see your drone with your own eyes, you can’t fly it. That means maintaining an actual line of sight to the drone, not just through the control panel viewfinder.

• If you’re in a controlled airspace (which means all cities and most major towns in Queensland) you cannot fly higher than 400ft/120m (just under double the height of the Story Bridge in Brisbane).

• Speaking of the Story Bridge, you must not fly over populous areas and keep at a safe distance, staying at least 30m away from people (including cars and boats etc). Basically, if your drone konks out, it can’t crash land on anyone, so that means no roads, busy beaches, sports games etc.

• Don’t play the fool and cause a hazard or distraction to any other aircraft or motor vehicles.

• Stay well away from any airfield, including small aerodromes for light aircraft (5.5km is the minimum distance you’re allowed to fly from an airfield). If you do see an aircraft nearby, you must land your drone immediately.

• If you do want to fly for any commercial gain, you need an Aviation Reference Number and should notify CASA five business days prior to lift-off.

• Do a little more homework and check out the detailed guidelines over at  www.casa.gov.au/RPA.

Ok, so now that school is out, we bet you’re itching to fly!

Here are some of the hottest places to take your drone for a spin

75 Mile Beach Fraser Island

Beaches that are practically deserted are your best starting point. This epic shot was taken by @maayom over 75 Mile Beach on Fraser Island.

Atherton Tablelands

The cane fields in Tropical North Queensland are a magnificent sea of green from above. Photo by @jarradseng.

Pentacost Island

See the untouched wilderness of Pentecost Island in the Whitsundays. Photo by @keiranlusk.

Radical Bay Magnetic Island

Glorious views over Radical Bay on Magnetic Island,, Townsville. Photo by @barekiwi

Maheno Wreck

You can see the full scale of the Maheno Wreck on Fraser Island from above. Photo by @maayom.

Outback Queensland

Droving cattle in the wide open spaces of Outback Queensland is a sight to see from the air. Photo by @maayom.

Magnetic Island Forts

If the Magnetic Island Forts off the coast of Townsville didn’t have the best lookout of all, take to the sky to get an even better vantage point. Photo by @barekiwi.

Humpback whales Fraser Coast

Humpback whale, baby whale and dolphin in the one photo! Insane capture by @maayom on the Fraser Coast.

Do you even drone, bruh? Where do you take your drone for a spin? Let us know in the comments below.

Psst. Don’t forget to tag your drone pics and vids on Instagram with #thisisqueensland so we can check them out and maybe feature them. Fly safe!




  • http://www.4wdingaustralia.com Aaron at 4WDing Australia

    Amazing photos; drones are changing the photography industry!

  • Richard Gallagher

    I only have a little baby drone at the moment. Can’t wait to get a decent sized one and take it to some of these spots.