You must have a permit from DOC to fly a drone (of any size) in national parks, including for recreational and commercial purposes.

To apply to use a drone on public conservation land, including national parks, and for information about the fees you will be charged, see Commercial drone use or Recreational drone use.

Below is a guide to the national parks where we recommend you apply to use a drone, and where an application for recreational drone use is likely to be declined.  

For more information about flying drones on conservation land, including how to apply, the cost of making an application, and how long the application process takes, see Recreational drone use.

National parks we recommend you apply

Fiordland National Park

We recommend you apply to fly your drone at the following sites:

  • Cascade Campsite (excluding the Lake Gunn Nature Walk), between 10 am and 3 pm only
  • Eglinton Valley (at least 200m from Milford Road), between 10 am and 3 pm only
  • Lake Gunn day-use area.

You can apply for these sites using the Fiordland recommended locations form (PDF, 116K) or (Word, 63K)

Contact the Te Anau office to discuss your application if you want to use a drone at any other sites in Fiordland National Park.  

National parks we do not recommend you apply 

Drone use is not generally allowed in the following national parks (including for recreational purposes):

  • Abel Tasman National Park
  • Arthur’s Pass National Park
  • Egmont National Park
  • Mount Aspiring National Park
  • Nelson Lakes National Park
  • Paparoa National Park
  • Tongariro National Park.

We do not recommend you apply to fly a drone in any of these national parks. Your application is likely to be declined, and you will be charged a fee ($65 plus GST per region you apply for) for the time spent processing your application. 

Other national parks

If you want to fly your drone in one of the following national parks, contact the relevant office before submitting your application:

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