Skip to content

Flying drones/ UAVs

Flying drones/ UAVs

Updated 19 April 2022 9:56am

There are lots of good places to fly drones or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) in GWRC managed parks and reserves and there are some places where they should not be flown. No matter where you want to fly, you need to be aware of New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) rules and fly your drone safely. 

Where can I fly my drone in parks?

Suggested areas suitable for flying UAVs include:

  • The ‘concrete pads’ and cliff top area at Whitireia Park near the park entrance, but not within 100 metres of the Radio New Zealand aerial masts and associated infrastructure, or  and any paragliders,  hang gliders or kite surfers in the park.
  • The ‘air strip’ area at Battle Hill Farm Forest Park (except during lambing/ calving season)
  • The eastern side of the Wainuiomata River flats at the Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui, Coast Road park entrance, East Harbour Regional Park.  Areas to the west of the Wainuiomata River are within the controlled airspace of Wellington Airport (and Airways NZ clearance is required before you can fly).
  • Dry Creek area, Belmont Regional Park


  • Recreation trails when busy. Unless you can obtain ‘prior permission of all the park users you wish to fly above’ (as per CAA rule).
  • Any areas where organised events or gatherings are taking place, unless permission has been obtained for example, as part of an event permit. 
  • Anywhere in parks where paragliders take off or fly over. This includes Mt Climie In Pakuratahi park, Whitireia Park cliffs, Baring Head/ Orura-pouanui southern cliffs. If there is paraglider in airspace nearby, please stop flying your drone.

Six key rules all drone users should know

  • Always fly below 120 metres
  • Don’t fly over people without permission
  • Keep your drone in sight at all times
  • Stay 4 km away from aerodromes and helipads
  • Give way to all manned aircraft. Land immediately
  • Don’t fly over property without permission

Drones must not be flown in the following places:

  • All designated picnic areas. This includes picnic areas in Kaitoke Regional Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, Tunnel Gully Recreation Area, the lower dam area at Wainuiomata Recreation Area, Cannon Point in Akatarawa Forest, Baring Head lighthouse precinct in East Harbour Regional Park, and Onehunga Bay car park and picnic area in Whitireia Park.
  • All designated camping areas. This includes Kaitoke Regional Park and Battle Hill Farm Forest Park.
  • Areas of Battle Hill Farm Forest Park and Belmont Regional Park seasonally closed for lambing and calving
  • All wetland and nesting or roosting bird habitat areas in parks
  • Closer than 30 metres to any vehicles, boats or park buildings or structures (note that Wellington Harbour is all controlled airspace, if you do have permission to fly over the harbour, please stay at least 200 metres away from large commercial shipping).
  • In other locations when asked to cease flying by a Park Ranger or member of the public 

Refer to the GWRC  Guideline for Flying Drones (UAVs) in the regional parks and forests for more details. 

A permit is not required for recreational flying, but is required if you intend to fly for commercial purposes

Details of the CAA rules are found on their website