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Old Dec 21, 19, 6:34 pm
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Bay Area
Programs: DL SM, UA MP.
Posts: 12,730
Originally Posted by Quokka View Post
While a lot of areas away from the cities are DOC (Dept of Conservation) lands, local Councils control large amounts of land as well. Some councils have very drone friendly policies (e.g. Christchurch), while others seem to want to have nothing to do with them currently (e.g. Queenstown Lakes District).

Christchurch Council has lots of land in Canterbury including on the Banks Peninsula. Much of it has been declared "No Consent Required - Preferred Area" for drones with no need to apply for anything if your drone is under 1.5 kg
Yeah I didn't even check with each individual councils, didn't even occur to me to check. I did know QT was virtually a no-fly area. They said you can ask private property owners but how realistic is that for foreign tourists to get consent from owners? Why would they allow some strangers to fly over their properties?

I did get some good flights around Lyttelton Harbour, including from Godley Head Farm Reserve, for which I got permit from the Canterbury DOC office, for approximately $75 NZD. Windy but still manged to get some sun.

I applied for a similar permit for Otago DOC but they didn't approve of any of the specific areas I requested (whereas the Canterbury DOC did) except for Glenorchy Road and only because it was already on the recommended list of reserves they said drone pilots should apply for.

Most of the areas they approved were around Dunedin or the SE coast of South Island, which were areas I wasn't visiting at all. So the only place I would be able to use the permit would be Glenorchy Road, but even that wouldn't be guaranteed because I had no way of knowing what the weather would be like.

As it turned out, weather would have been good enough on one of the days. Instead I drove down to Devil's Staircase, near Kingston. That spot is about 25 km south of ZQN and doesn't have any restrictions according to the Airshare map. But I don't know if that is part of the QLDC or not. I emailed them and they didn't reply. So I flew over there, there was at least one other person flying a drone. But most people were just talking selfies against the mountains and the lake.

Now I'm scheduled to take a flight tour to Milford Sound, to get some aerial shots over QT. Though on one NZ flight that I took to AKL previously, I got some very good photos over the lake and the mountains shortly after takeoff from ZQN.
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