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Commercial Filming

The necessary permits and fees for filming or photography on Rottnest Island.
How to apply for a commercial filming or photography permit

With its picture-perfect beaches and photogenic native animals, Wadjemup / Rottnest Island makes for a great filming location. But if you’re looking to undertake any kind of commercial filming on Wadjemup, you’ll need to apply for a permit first.

On this page you’ll find photography and filming guidelines, and the necessary permit application forms to request access to filming on the island.

Included on this page

What is classified as commercial filming?

Commercial filming is essentially any type of filming on Wadjemup that will be used for commercial, promotional, or advertising purposes. This means any digital photography or video, filming or film photography, smartphone images or footage.

Types of commercial filming can include:

  • Weddings. While weddings aren’t generally held for commercial purposes, your photographer and videographer are still operating as a business, so you’ll need a permit for filming and photographing weddings on the island.
  • Influencer activity, monetised live streaming, and vlogging. Filming that’s used to earn revenue (or in-kind donations) through social media and in-stream video advertisements.
  • Still or motion footage taken for promotion of a product, service, brand, or person. This includes still photography for brand promotion (commercial or otherwise), advertising purposes, Government-sponsored filming, tourism, and promotion of television / print / digital / social media personalities.
  • Documentary filming.
  • Educational filming. This includes filming for the Department of Education, universities, TAFE, or research groups.
  • Production filming. Filming for theatre, television, and cinema productions for commercial release.

General ground-based photography and videography for personal use is always welcomed and encouraged.

Commercial filming guidelines

The commercial filming guidelines provide an outline of the appropriate filming activities on and around Wadjemup, and how to do it. They also provide the framework that allows Rottnest Island Authority (RIA) to efficiently process all permit applications in a consistent and streamlined way.

Acceptable commercial filming

Any commercial filming and photography on the island is deemed acceptable if it portrays the area in a manner that is consistent with the objectives laid out in the Rottnest Island Management Plan 2023-28.

    Filming Aboriginal sites

    Commercial photography or filming of a registered Aboriginal site requires consent under the authority of the Aboriginal Heritage Regulations 1974 (AHR). Filming of Aboriginal heritage sites cannot take place until written consent is received. 

    Please contact the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage for further information.

    Using drones on Wadjemup

    Drone use is allowed on the island for the purposes of commercial filming, but only with RIA approval first.  

    If you plan to use a drone for filming on Wadjemup, all drone use must be listed in your commercial filming permit application, along with supporting license information and supported by a Risk Management Plan to ensure the relevant risk management controls are in place prior to operation.  

    Review of the final film

    For commercial feature films, documentaries, short films, advertisements, and similar, RIA may request to see a preview of the final product prior to distribution.

    RIA may also request that the producers include an acknowledgment in the credit, like so: Produced with the assistance of the Rottnest Island Authority.

    How to apply for a commercial filming permit

    • Fill out a Commercial Filming Permit Application.
    • Provide a brief of the content to be filmed.
    • Provide a comprehensive filming schedule.
    • Provide a script, if you’re using one.
    • Submit your application. All commercial filming and photography applications can be sent to [email protected]
    • Pay your fees. All fees must be paid within 30 days of completion of filming.
    Application Review Timeframes
    Please note that any filming applications, including drone filming, can take up to 30 days to be approved. To avoid delays, ensure you have sent in a completed Commercial Filming Permit Application and all documents required with enough time prior to your proposed filming dates.

    Commercial filming fees

    Prices are correct as of 1 July 2023 and are subject to change.


    Application fee: $222
    Drone application fee: $158
    Photography filming fee – day visit: $280
    Photography filming fee – every additional day: $187
    Motion filming fee – day visit: $560
    Motion filming fee – every additional day: $373

    Additional requirements

    Rottnest Island Authority (RIA) management and Guides: $116 per hour, during business hours
    RIA staff – during business hours: $119 per hour
    RIA staff – per day: $893 per day (not including overnight allowances)
    RIA vehicle – full day: $158 per vehicle
    RIA vehicle – half day: $105 per vehicle

    See all fees and charges that apply to the island.


    A bond may be required to cover any cleaning or repair of any damage. This price will be confirmed upon application.


    Penalties apply for any person who does not have permission to undertake commercial filming. 

    Frequently asked questions

    It can take up to 30 days for a filming permit to be approved.
    Yes, drone usage is restricted. If you plan to use a drone for filming on the island, this must be stated in your commercial filming permit application, along with supporting license information and a supporting Risk Management Plan. 

    Guidelines are available that you and your team must follow to ensure the protection of the island’s natural environment and wildlife. This is all covered in the Commercial Filming Policy and Guidelines, but essentially:

    • Keep your distance from all wildlife
    • Don’t approach them with food or water
    • Treat the plant life with kindness
    • Don’t stand on reefs or near cliff edges, salt lakes, vegetation, and sand dunes