Filming in Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown’s stunning scenery and world class expertise, make it an ideal destination for shooting feature films, commercials and promotional materials.
Queenstown and the Southern lakes region have provided an unforgettable setting for movies including The Hobbit trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Vertical Limit, Bollywood superhit I Hate Luv Story’s, and Disney’s latest Pete’s Dragon. Recently, pop mega star Taylor Swift shot her Into the Woods music video in Paradise near Glenorchy.
We work closely with Film Otago Southland, the regional film office, to support filming that showcases our destination and encourages visitation to Queenstown.
Below you will find some important information along with some key contacts to get you started.
Film Otago Southland will help facilitate your permits, whether you’re using local roads, facilities or public places. You may require consents for bigger shoots or if you are building structures using pyrotechnics, fire or firearms – it’s best to check it out.
Queenstown Lake District Council land
Any filming of a commercial nature (i.e you’re set to make a commercial gain from using the footage) on Queenstown Lake District Council (QLDC) land requires a film permit, regardless of the size of the crew, or the equipment used. QLDC land includes footpaths, roads, parks, facilities, public places and reserves.
You will need to supply a copy of your public liability insurance certificate and site specific H&S documents when you submit your application, so make sure you have this ready. Permits can take up to a week to be approved after submission so it’s best to start working on this as soon as possible.
Any filming using a drone on QLDC land, is only permitted if you have engaged the services of a licenced operator (they must hold a permit called a Part 102), and have obtained a permit, see below.
Queenstown Lakes District Council permits are processed through APL Property Queenstown
Department of Conservation Land
Any filming of a commercial nature (i.e you’re set to make a commercial gain from using the footage) on Department of Conservation land requires a film permit, regardless of the size of the crew, or the equipment used. You will need to supply a copy of your public liability insurance certificate when you submit your application, so make sure you have this ready.
The process from submission to approved can take up to three months (for large projects) due to the consultation involved, so it’s best to start working on this as soon as possible.
Consent forms and other relevant material such as information about fees can be found on DOC’s website: https://www.doc.govt.nz/get-involved/apply-for-permits/business-or-activity/filming/
LINZ Unalienated Crown Land (includes lakebeds and riverbeds)
Many New Zealand lakebeds and riverbeds are Crown property and are managed by LINZ on behalf of the Commissioner of Crown Lands. A recreation permit is required prior to filming on these.
LINZ Pastoral Land (includes stations or farms)
If you are filming on Pastoral lease land with the permission of the leaseholder (farmer) you will also need a LINZ Pastoral recreation permit from LINZ Pastoral.
For filming that involves the following location types:
- In and around Statutory Acknowledgement areas
- In and around Nohoanga sites
- In and around Topuni sites
- Where Māori cultural, historical or spiritual information/narrative will be used
- In and around significant landscapes
- In and around ‘major’ waterways
Please contact Aukaha for consultation with local iwi:
Phone: (03) 477-0071
Please be aware of the drone use rules in New Zealand, by familiarising yourself with the Airshare website.
The Queenstown aerodrome is surrounded with "controlled airspace" which extends much further than a 4km radius and goes right down to the ground. Please see the maps here from controlled airspace in the Queenstown region.
When flying in controlled airspace, you must obtain an air traffic control clearance issued by Airways New Zealand (via Airshare) Please also visit the Queenstown Airport’s information page.
Any filming using a drone on QLDC land is only permitted if you have engaged the services of a licenced operator (Part 102). A copy of their Part 102 must be included in the film permit application when this is submitted to the QLDC.
If you are considering using a drone on Department of Conservation land, you must contact the DOC office and they will advise how to include this in your permit application.
Filming at Queenstown Airport
Queenstown Airport requires a permit from the Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC).
For more information visit the Queenstown Airport website here: https://www.queenstownairport.co.nz/corporate/media/filming-requests
*These regulations are subject to change, please contact the relevant body for the most up-to-date information on film permits or reach out to Destination Queenstown for assistance.