Flying a drone in Gippsland

Flying a drone in Gippsland

“Your home point has been updated, please check it on the map” if you’ve flown a DJI drone you would instantly recall hearing this phrase. It suggests your drone’s GPS has located enough satellites to know where it is in the world, and automatically where to return if the transmission is interrupted during flight, now all that’s required is a big sky and a charged battery.

Gippsland, luckily, has beautiful clear skies, plenty of satellites, and amazing locations from the beach through to mountains, your chances of capturing that epic footage or flamboyant aerial image are very real here in Gippsland.

The best time to fly a drone in Gippsland

The best time to fly a drone in Gippsland is the first hour around sunrise, and the last hour around sunset. For a photographer, this is a magical time when the abundance of colours are exaggerated by the low angle of the sun. It’s also generally when you’ll encounter lower numbers of the general public.

Fishing on the 90 Mile Beach

Bright colours and fewer distractions sounds like a win-win! Gippsland covers a huge area, from just east of Melbourne through to the sea at Mallacoota. With such a large region, you’d be absolutely correct in expecting a diverse and extensive range of subjects, including:

-The picturesque Macalister Valley on the Heyfield-Licola Rd

-Lakes Entrance, a major fishing port

-Farmlands around Newry and Tinamba –

-Undulating hills surrounding Thorpdale -Vegetable farms in Lindenow

-Miles and Miles of Beachfront

-Mountains to the north with secluded valleys which seem to be endless.

-A myriad of remote areas covered with beautiful trees, these make lovely vertical images and include Mountain Ash and Silver tops, Eucalyptus varieties seem never-ending.

With such a large choice of locations, it may be overwhelming to choose just one. One of my favourite things to do is jump on google earth, choose a spot which looks interesting, and head in that direction. Sometimes you may not get to that exact location as areas of interest pop up along the way, that’s fine because remember, it’s not always about the destination.


It is the actual journey which is important, and most of the time the journey is the part we reflect on most.

A couple of questions I get asked frequently

Which is the right drone for me? And what are the best settings to use?

Technology changes so rapidly, in the last 4 years I’ve owned over 10 drones.

Camels on the beach in Lakes Entrance

From the Phantom 3 Pro in 2014, through to the M600Pro in 2018 and M210 in 2019, there isn’t one drone which covers everything and the same can be said for camera settings.

As technical as these drones can be, remember “its just a flying camera” and treat it as such. Answering the two above questions requires a personal conversation as it involves your budget and your desired output. What I can do is give a couple of tips for those new to the game.

Pines in Gippsland Australia


Tip one: Focus on the actual drone, forget about taking pictures for the moment and become competent at flying.

In an open field, practice flying the drone, be familiar with taking off and landing and placing the drone in a variety of positions. The only way to become comfortable with this is to use those batteries and do it often. Setting goals for yourself such as “today I’m going to fly around that big old tree and back” is a great way of becoming comfortable with flying your drone.


“it is just a flying camera”

Tip two: The camera, like all cameras you can place it on auto and get pretty good results. If you’d like outstanding images you may like to become comfortable with the aperture, shutter speed, ISO & frames per second.

When you’re at ease knowing where the settings are and how to change them quickly, the advantage will be with you. This can be accomplished sitting at the kitchen table, day or night, without being governed by outside weather conditions or Aviation laws.

Drone Laws?

Did you say Drone Laws? Although drones can be considered a toy, they are aircraft and we have a few CASA rules to conform to.


• You must keep under 400 ft above the ground.

• You must not fly your drone over or near emergency operations

• You must not fly your drone within 30 metres of people

• Fly only one drone at a time.

• You must keep your drone at least 5.5km away from controlled aerodromes.

• You may fly within 5.5km of a non-controlled aerodrome or helicopter landing site (HLS) only if manned aircraft are not operating to or from the aerodrome. If you become aware of manned aircraft operating to or from the aerodrome/ HLS, you must maneuver away from the aircraft and land as soon as safely possible.


• You must only fly during the day and keep your drone within visual line-of-sight.

• You must not fly over or above people.

• You must not operate your drone in a way that creates a hazard to another aircraft, person, or property

• You must not operate your drone in prohibited or restricted areas.

• For more info contact CASA on 131 757


To assist with this you can download the CASA “Can I Fly There App” (CIFT), Free from the App Store and CASA website.

If you’d like outstanding images

Need inspiration or more info? Join an online drone group. There are many groups who will support your ideas and give much inspiration, drone photography and videography has a huge following.

Here you can chat with like-minded people, find out about great local places to visit and as important places to avoid.

Recommended FB groups are:

*The Drone Group Gippsland

*Melbourne Drone Flyers

*DJI also has individual groups for each model they make.

Congratulations for choosing Gippsland as a location for aerial photography, if the green hills and slow-moving rivers don’t expel all your battery life, the vast paddocks dotted with round hay bales and vibrant sea shores surely will. You’ll find Gippslanders as a group friendly and approachable if there is a group of people near your chosen location.

Macalister Valley Gippsland

I’ve found it very favourable walking over and introducing myself prior to launching the drone, it not only ensures the group I respect their privacy and serenity but at times has let me in on impressive, otherwise “secret” locations nearby. Happy Flying!


About the Author: Shannon Shumski started his journey in aerial photography around 20 years ago, photographing from fixed wing aircraft and the occasional helicopter. Today Shannon operates www.SkyPhoto.Guru an image specialist company and is Co-owner of www.DroneSalesAustralia.com.au


Shannon is excited to be one of the thousands who are pioneering our drone industry. Passion and Aviation, an exciting combination. All images within this article copyright Shannon Shumski. Need inspiration or more info?

Please find 2 more articles from Travels in Gippsland below for your reading enjoyment. Just click on the description to read.

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