Tue. Sep 26th, 2023
Overview of Drone Regulations in Tongariro National Park

Tongariro National Park is a beautiful and unique area in New Zealand that is home to many rare and endangered species of plants and animals. It is also a popular destination for tourists who come to hike, ski, and enjoy the stunning scenery. However, with the rise of drone technology, there has been an increasing concern about the impact of drones on the environment and wildlife in the park.

To address these concerns, the Department of Conservation (DOC) has implemented regulations for the use of drones in Tongariro National Park. These regulations are designed to protect the park’s natural and cultural values, as well as the safety of visitors and staff.

The regulations state that drones can only be flown in designated areas of the park, and only with the permission of the DOC. These areas include the Whakapapa and Turoa ski fields, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, and the Tongariro Northern Circuit. Drones are not allowed in any other areas of the park, including the Tongariro Forest Park and the Kaimanawa Forest Park.

In addition to these restrictions, there are also rules around the operation of drones in Tongariro National Park. Drones must be flown below 400 feet and must not be flown within 4 kilometers of any aerodrome or helipad. They must also be flown in a way that does not disturb wildlife or other visitors to the park.

The DOC has stated that these regulations are necessary to protect the park’s natural and cultural values, as well as the safety of visitors and staff. Drones can be a disturbance to wildlife, and can also pose a safety risk if they collide with other aircraft or fall from the sky.

The regulations have been welcomed by many visitors to Tongariro National Park, who appreciate the efforts to protect the park’s unique environment. However, there have also been some concerns raised about the impact of the regulations on the use of drones for photography and videography.

To address these concerns, the DOC has stated that it is possible to obtain permission to fly drones in areas of the park where they are not normally allowed. This permission is granted on a case-by-case basis, and is subject to strict conditions around the operation of the drone.

Overall, the regulations around the use of drones in Tongariro National Park are designed to balance the needs of visitors with the need to protect the park’s natural and cultural values. While some visitors may be disappointed by the restrictions, it is important to remember that the park is a fragile and unique environment that requires careful management to ensure its long-term survival.

If you are planning to visit Tongariro National Park and want to fly a drone, it is important to familiarize yourself with the regulations and obtain any necessary permissions before you arrive. By doing so, you can help to ensure that your visit to the park is both safe and respectful of its natural and cultural values.