Feb 12

Wings and snapshots over New Zealand

Plane, helicopter and lately drone. There are many ways to discover “Aotearoa” from above. But more and more tourists also bring a flying device in their luggage, as sky regulations are still quite – but maybe not for long – merciful in New Zealand.

National flight company Air New Zealand gets free promotion on a daily-basis on Twitter. Have a look at their account, @FlyairNZ, and you will soon discover a retweet of one passenger’s snapshot through the window of a company Boeing or Airbus. Here’s one of the last to date :


As a tourist in New Zealand, you’ll have a large choice of aerial activities, whether it’s mountain gazing, paragliding, skydiving… Most of which are proposed as a package with tailored video footage of your adventure.

But another way to bring back such memories is to have your own flying camera. Trendy name for it is drone. Such devices usually cost a few hundred dollars, like the ones from the French company Parrot, which has several retailers in the country. Its price can be slightly reduce, if you buy drone parts online and mount it yourself with a portable – and crash resistant – camera.

New Zealand is surely one of the best and most gorgeous playgrounds in the world for operating drones, with numerous empty and well-preserved areas. Here’s an example among many others on YouTube (actually with some people around as it’s a touristic spot), recorded with a DJI Phantom, priced around 800 dollars :


Recording aerial footage of remote places and putting it on the web might even get you some reputation online. This happened to a friend for a drone video he shot in Tunnel Beach, a must-see near Dunedin. It was shared and liked many times on the Facebook page of a travel agency, as well as reposted on a local newspaper website :


The aerial honeymoon might not last forever, though, as New Zealand is thinking about introducing new regulations, starting in 2015. For instance, first rules state that recreational users shall not fly their drone closer than 4 kilometers from any aerodromes, or 120 meters above ground level. In contrast, most leisure drones have a range over 200 meters. 

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