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Filming and photography

Parks Victoria manages some of Victoria’s most spectacular public spaces including National Parks, State Parks, Crown Land Reserves, Port Phillip and Western Port, Yarra & Maribyrnong Rivers and a variety of Metropolitan Parks. Naturally these spaces are of great interest to film-makers and photographers from all over the world.

Parks Victoria recognises the value that the film and photography industries bring to the state and local communities and encourage you to showcase them in the best possible way. We enjoy seeing these places all over the media, in short films, in calendars, in wedding photos and even on the big screens just as much as you do. We just ask you to make use of them in a responsible way to preserve them for future generations.

What is a permit?

A permit is an official document that allows you to undertake specific activities on public land. Permits allow us to manage use of the parks equally and to the enjoyment and safety of all users while protecting their special value flora and fauna.

Our parks and waterways are governed by sets of very specific rules. Fines might apply for some activities, if you fail to obtain a permit. Please read the information below to find out more about filming & photography permits. If you are still unsure, contact us on events@parks.vic.gov.au 

Who needs a permit?

  • Anyone conducting filming or photography as part of their trade or business.
  • Wedding and portrait photographers not already covered by an event permit.
  • Some student productions (students should liaise with Parks Victoria staff).  
  • Drone filming and photography including drones under 2kg. Please note, only CASA licensed operators can apply for a permit.

Who doesn't need a permit?

  • Amateur or hobby photographers with basic equipment, who are not making images commercially available.
  • People taking film or video for personal use, except if filming with drones. 

Wedding Photography at Dandenong Ranges Gardens

For wedding photography and/or ceremonies at the Dandenong Ranges Gardens, please just email your enquiry to GardensWeddingsBookings@parks.vic.gov.au or call (03) 8427 2087. This includes the following gardens:

  • National Rhododendron Gardens
  • Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens
  • George Tindale Memorial Gardens
  • Pirianda Gardens
  • RJ Hamer Arboretum

Are there any fees?

Yes. An administration fee is applicable and fees cannot be waives. Fees for supervision, special parking, facility hire or a bond may also apply. A late processing fee applies to applications received with less than five full working days’ notice and we cannot guarantee that a permit can be turned around within this timeframe. The fee schedule is outlined on the application form.

General guidelines placed on filming or photography in parks

  • Stay on defined tracks. Park cars in designated carparks.
  • Keep the site clean, cover food, put lids on rubbish bins.
  • Carry out what you take in.
  • Consider safety precautions and follow the Victorian Screen Industry Code of Conduct.
  • Keep noise to a minimum. Do not disturb other visitors.
  • Don’t disturb or damage the plants, animals, soil or natural or built features in the park.
  • Don’t feed the wildlife. 
  • No use of firearms, pyrotechnics, generators, marquees, loud sound effects or sound amplifier systems unless special permission is given.

Parks Victoria is unlikely to issue a permit if the proposed filming activities:

  • Are likely to substantially limit the experiences and enjoyment of park or reserve visitors or tenants, or the rights of the park or reserve neighbours.
  • Cause unacceptable impact on cultural or natural environments or assets.
  • Coincide with other activities or events already planned or expected to occur at the same time and place, or are incompatible with these activities.
  • Involve access to areas normally limited to administrative access or closed for resource protection or safety reasons.
  • Portray activities that are not generally permitted or appropriate in the park or reserve.

What is the process?

  1. Submit your completed application form to events@parks.vic.gov.au at least two weeks prior to filming and attach the following documents:
    • Certificate of Currency – this is required for all permits and cannot be waived. The minimum public liability coverage acceptable is $20 million AUD and the certificate must note Parks Victoria as an interested party.
    • Site map or mud map – outlining the filming/photography activity and any unit base setups.
    • Scene pages, script, mood board or short description of the nature of your project.
    • Safety Plan/Risk Assessment Plan.
    • Running sheet.
  2. Parks Victoria might request further documentation and clarification.
  3. An invoice will be issued. Full payment is due prior to permit execution.

Note: A late processing fee applies to all applications received with less than 5 full working days’ notice and we cannot guarantee that a permit can be turned around within this timeframe. Early notice of your proposed filming activity can assist the process of your permit application. If you are unsure of the exact date of filming/photography, please nominate several possible dates. You can also include multiple dates and parks in one application. A permit is still required for filming and photography activities of low impact or small scale if of commercial nature.

Filming and photography with drones / UAV / RPA

Filming with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)/ remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) / drones is restricted in most parks managed by Parks Victoria. To obtain a permit you must be or engage a CASA licensed operator and pilot. This also applies to drones under 2kg weight.

Please refer to the last page of the application form for required documents that need to be submitted with your filming application for the operation of drones.

Application form

Where to get more information?

For more information contact Parks Victoria on 13 1963 or events@parks.vic.gov.au

Parks Victoria can provide advice on locations, site restrictions and planned park events and activities that could affect filming and photography. Site visits can also be arranged to assess conditions and safety arrangements.