Commercial Filming (including drones) and Photography

Commercial Filming (inclusive of Drones) and Photography Prohibition Guidelines

Norah Head Lighthouse Commercial Filming and Photography Policy

Environment and Heritage

Norah Head Lighthouse Reserve is overseen by the NSW State Government Office of Environment and Heritage as a public space and managed by the Norah Head Lighthouse Reserve Land Manager Board (NHLR LMB). The Reserve stands proud as a beacon of historical significance and a culturally rich site, providing the public the opportunity to immerse themselves in the experience of an iconic landmark. The Reserve itself includes:

  • A Lighthouse Tower offering daily Guided Tours
  • Two 4-star Keeper’s Quarters available for short-term holiday accommodation; and
  • On-site Reserve Manager’s Residence

Through the continued restoration of the Reserve, the space has become a popular location for various celebrations, including but not limited to, wedding ceremonies, receptions, festivals and special family events. The NHLR LMB will consider applications for Commercial Filming and Photography that do not compromise the privacy, visitor amenity or cultural values.

Flora, Fauna and Protected Species

The Reserve sits between Wyrrabalong National Park and stunning coastal beaches. With a plethora of flora and fauna, both common and protected species, the area is popular for its recreational activities and the ideal viewing platform for the annual migration of whales, moving north through May – June and returning south later in the year. Seals and sea lions, as well as pods of dolphins, can often be seen near the large rock shelf immediately below the Light Tower.

The Reserve Land Manager Board is responsible in for aligning its regulations for the use of Commercial Filming and Photography in and over the Reserve in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Crown Land Management Regulation 2018 to protect the public space.

How close can an unmanned aircraft fly to whales, dolphins and dugongs?

In accordance with State Government Guidelines you are not permitted to be closer than 100 metres to a marine mammal. For more information on the protection of marine mammals go to:

Can a Plan of Management prohibit drones?

Yes, as part of NSW Environment and Heritage by-laws if a Plan of Management states that Commercial Filming and Photography are not to be used this will be adhered to. Norah Head Lighthouse Reserve has erected signs on the Reserve and can further inform visitors by:

  • giving tenants and visitors a written notice
  • speaking to tenants and visitors

A copy of the flyer ‘Commercial Filming (including drones) and Photography Guidelines’ can be obtained from the Lighthouse Tower between 10am – 1.30pm daily. Alternatively, a copy can be downloaded here: NHLH Commercial Photography Filming Flyer – August 2019.

When can I Film (inclusive of Drone footage) or Photograph the Norah Head Lighthouse Reserve for Commercial purposes?

Similar to the requirements of local governments, under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Regulations there are restrictions on taking Commercial Photographs in various parks and Commonwealth Marine Parks and Reserves.

Inclusive of the above, Commonwealth Privacy Regulations, Commercial Filming and Photography is not permitted without prior consent of the NHLR LMB (see Sections 9.4 and 10.6 of the Crown Land Management Regulation 2016).

You CANNOT Film or Photograph for Commercial purposes without prior consent from the Reserve Land Manager Board.

The Land Manager Board may grant consent if:

  • it will not annoy or cause risk to tenants and visitors, or invade their privacy
  • it will not be a nuisance or cause risk to wildlife
  • It will not be flown nearer than 30 metres from the Lighthouse and Tower or the boundaries of the Keeper’ Quarters.
  • it will not interfere with management operations on the consented day.

Note: If you are granted consent, you are restricted to only Film or Photograph at the date and time and in the area covered by the consent.

What are the fees to Film or Photograph Commercially?

A nominal fee of $150 plus gst to access the Reserve for the day will be charged once the application has been approved by the Norah Head Lighthouse Reserve Land Manager Board. A representative of the board will be in contact with you to organise payment.

Is Wedding/Event Photography classified as Commercial use?

The Lighthouse Tower has become a very popular icon to have your wedding photos taken, and we love to see happy brides on facebook and Instagram with the Lighthouse in the background. So that we do not double book the Reserve, or disrupt the privacy of the guests and the public, we do require your Photographer fill in the Application for Commercial Filming and Photography form.

If you’ve booked a Wedding Package with us you have exclusive access and this will be organised at tie of your booking.

How do I gain permission to Commercially Film or Photograph in and over the Norah Head Lighthouse Reserve?

Please fill in the form and a representative of the Reserve Manager Board will be in contact with you via email. Due to the historical preservation of the Reserve as well as flying over public space, you must be covered by Public Liability Insurance. You will be asked to provide your policy number when you fill in the form: Application for Commercial Filming and Photography

I’d only like to film for personal use, what do I do?
If you are only filming for personal use please read the Drone Prohibition Guidelines (for Personal practices) and follow the Application link for Personal use.

What to do if I am granted consent to Film or Photograph on the Reserve?

If you are granted permission to film or photograph, before you start you will be required to:

  • carry relevant licenses at all times e.g. Drone or filming license
  • The Land Manager Board will provide you with a written letter stating you have been granted permission. You are required to carry this letter when using your drone at the Norah Head Lighthouse Reserve. You must provide this letter as proof of authority to film or photograph. If you cannot provide the written authority you will be asked to cease immediately.