Filming and photography

The Gardens offer some of the most diverse, cinematic backdrops in the world for filming and photography projects.

Professional film cameras set up on tripods

The Botanic Gardens of Sydney offer some of the most iconic sites in Greater Sydney, as well as manicured gardens, tropical garden backdrops and wide open spaces with the city skyline as the backdrop.

We can accommodate large commercial projects, feature films, documentaries, fashion photography and portrait shoots.

Our helpful and experienced staff are happy to advise you on the most suitable location, and will endeavour to make your shoot at the Gardens as smooth as possible.


Please allow a minimum of five business days for our team to process your application.

Family and portrait photography

If you are a photographer who is being paid to do portraiture or family photography, or if you have engaged a paid photographer to take photos for you and you want to use the Garden as a backdrop, then you will need a permit.

Apply for a permit

Commercial filming and photography

If you plan to undertake any commercial filming or photography at any of the three Botanic Gardens you will need to apply for a permit. Public Liability Insurance must be included when submitting your application.

Apply for a Royal Botanic Garden Sydney permit

Apply for an Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan permit

Apply for a Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah permit

Wedding and engagement photography

If you would like to have your wedding or engagement photos taken at the Gardens, please refer to our wedding and engagement photography page.


Before you enquire about filming and photography at the Botanic Gardens of Sydney, please read through the below Conditions for Commercial Filming and Photography.

The site's uniqueness and sensitivity demands increased awareness, particularly regarding vehicle use and the erection of temporary structures within its boundaries. We ask for your care and consideration for them and specifically request that this information be relayed to your employees and contractors.

The following Conditions for Commercial Filming and Photography are to be read in conjunction with the general terms and conditions of venue hire

The commercial filming and photography activity is approved once all necessary documentation has been received, payment has been received, and a Trust permit has been issued. 

The following documentation is required to consider your application:

  • Public liability insurance
  • Risk assessment
  • Preliminary schedule
  • Site map with all infrastructure detailed
  • Parking information
  • Drone documents if required

Conditions for Commercial Filming and Photography

Conditions of use
  • Any damage resulting from an approved film/photography shoot shall be recompensed by the applicant. All direct costs incurred by the Trust in relation to the shoot must be covered by the Applicant.
  • The Applicant or a representative is to be on-site at all times during the shoot. A mobile telephone number is to be supplied to the Trust for that person.
  • The Trust must be advised if any aspect of your shoot changes from the way it is described on your application.
  • The locations chosen for your shoot cannot be closed off to other members of the public unless specifically authorised within your permit. Discuss your requirements with the Venues team.
  • The Trust must receive copies of any incident reports arising from any activities on site.
  • Where the Botanic Gardens of Sydney buildings or lands are depicted in a film, video, photograph or other medium, the hirer shall not cause any display of images, words, acts or other material of a crude, offensive nature that is likely to embarrass or distress or in any way injure the reputation and standing of the Trust, its employees or any reasonable member of the public.
  • Fireworks, externally sourced plants, animals and amplified sound are not permitted, unless specifically authorised by the Trust.
  • A Risk Management and Safety Plan for filming at the location must be developed, implemented and a copy provided to the Trust prior to commencement of the shoot. This includes a risk register as evidence that a thorough risk assessment, which identifies risks and provides a means of implementing and managing controls, has been conducted. This also includes emergency and evacuation plans.

Commercial activity can arrange to barricade parking bays. Permits are available for 24-hour periods for a flat fee, charged per bay required (not the number of vehicles). 

The Hirer would be required to arrange traffic control to barricade the approved bays. It is recommended barricading is done outside of operating hours, or overnight to ensure the required bays are available. 

If KD’s and/or catering is required, additional fees apply. Detail of the infrastructure required must be included in the application. No infrastructure (including chairs and tables) can be set up underneath the trees. All tents/marquee’s must be weighted on the legs using a minimum of 20kg per leg. Pegging is not permitted.

If the required set up is particularly large and/or complex set-up and crew, a ranger may also be necessary. This is determined by management and based on the information provided in your online application. 


Vehicles are only permitted on public roads within the Garden. No vehicles may drive on the grass or off the public roads without written approval. 

There are no public roads within the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney or Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah. 

Vehicles must be parked only in the metered parking areas unless authorised by the Trust. Authorised access may be given upon request to essential vehicles such as generator trucks and to utility vehicles for drop off and collection of equipment. All vehicles must be escorted on site by a Trust representative.

Most paths and access points have weight and height restrictions. Please check these points with Trust staff to ensure transport vehicles can fit without damage to the site. It is not permitted to drive trucks on Trust lands that are over 4.3 metres in height, or trucks that are oversized according to RTA regulations or weighing more than 8T per axle.

Vehicles are not permitted to drive more than 10kph on pathways within the Garden and The Domain. Vehicles are not permitted to drive or park on the grass. Drivers are not permitted to drive over sandstone kerbing.


Flying of drones is only available at the Botanic Gardens of Sydney for commercial activity (no private bookings, such as weddings) and must be approved prior to the activity. An application to fly a drone must be submitted, with all necessary documentation provided before permission can be granted. We recommend submitting your application a minimum 5 business days for management to consider and approve your application.

All commercial drone use regardless of size and type requires Botanic Gardens of Sydney approval to take-off or land on Trust land. The use of drones for recreational purpose or to capture footage of a private or corporate event or activity is prohibited on Trust land. 

The following documentation is required to consider your application:

  • Remote Pilot Licence for the drone operator
  • RPA Operators Certificate (ReOC) 
  • Risk Assessment for the flight 
  • Public Liability Certificate 
  • Drone specifications of the drone that will be launching and landing on Trust land
  • Flight map that includes the following detail:
    • Take off/landing location(s) 
    • Flight path of the drone 
    • Location of your spotters to enforce a 30m exclusion zone of the launch/landing site and the drone show location as well
    • Where you will use bollards/cones and signage to make the 30m exclusion zone clear and visible to your guests
  • More detailed timings surrounding the drone’s launch and landing times
  • CASA approval for those flying over Sydney Harbour/water, or the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden. This approval is required prior to Botanic Gardens of Sydney issuing landholder approval. For more information, please visit
  • RAAF approval for drone activity at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden

Applications will not be approved if all documentation hasn’t been provided. 

A Ranger is required for all drone bookings to monitor and assist in managing pedestrian activity. The dedicated Ranger will also distribute mandatory signage. 

Structures and equipment

Trust approval must be granted before the erection of any structures. If the setup is complicated or extensive, it is recommended that the application is submitted a minimum one month prior to the activity taking place.

A site plan must be submitted for consideration, detailing size and weight as required. Some structures may require engineering certification to accompany the application. 

  • All authorised temporary structures must be weighted not pegged (unless otherwise advised)
  • During construction of stages or other structures, the immediate area is to be fenced off and made safe to the public
  • All structures and equipment are placed outside the Tree Protection Zones (TPZ). The TPZ is located within the drip-line of any tree canopy and/or 3 metres from the base of any tree. 
  • When operating dollies, cranes, moveable arms, or any other machinery, the immediate area is to be defined by witch hats and made safe to the public
  • All wheeled equipment such as lighting trolleys should be secured in a stationary position
  • All cables must run along the kerbside where possible and when crossing a path they must be covered with cable guard


July 2024 – June 2025

Royal Botanic Garden

Commercial photography


DescriptionStandard fee
2-hour permit (<10 pax)$466
2-hour permit (10-20 pax)$640
2-hour permit (> 20 pax)$808


Commercial filming


DescriptionStandard fee
Low impactFull-day permit$3,250
Half-day permit$1,785
Night permit$2,763
Additional hours$420
High impactFull-day permit$4,663
Half-day permit$2,763
Night permit$3,260
Additional hours$670


Education/Not-for-profit/Low budget filming and photography


DescriptionStandard fee
2-hour student photography permit$186
Full-day filming permit$1,660
Half-day filming permit$860


Family/portraiture photography


DescriptionStandard fee
2-hour permit$340


Aerial/Drone filming and photography


DescriptionStandard fee
Half-day permit$1,905
Full-day permit$3,810
High impact drone show permit$9,897 per day



Application fees

DescriptionStandard fee
Application fee (filming)$150
Application fee (photography)$80

Late fees

DescriptionStandard fee
Filming (<24 hours notice)100% first day hire
Filming (24 - 72 hours notice)50% first day hire


DescriptionStandard fee
24-hour parking permit (pre-paid on Mrs Macquaries Road or Hospital Road)$90
Compound site$750
Supplier escort through the Garden (incl. entry and exit)$90 per vehicle
Static Ranger$69 per hour
Mobile Ranger$75 per hour
Ranger - public holidays$105 per hour

Blue Mountains Botanic Garden

Commercial photography


DescriptionStandard fee
Half-day permit (<4 hours)$978
Full-day permit (>4 hours)$1,682


Education/Not-for-profit photography


DescriptionStandard fee
Half-day permit(<4 hours)$430
Full-day permit (>4 hours)$673


Family/portraiture photography


DescriptionStandard fee
2-hour permit$160
Full-day permit$336
12-month permit$5,486


Australian Botanic Garden

Commercial photography


DescriptionStandard fee
Half-day permit (<4 hours)$790
Full-day permit (>4 hours)$1,455


Commercial filming


DescriptionStandard fee
Low impactFull-day permit$1,455
Half-day permit$790
High impactFull-day permit$3,360
Exclusive use of designated areaPOA
8am – midnight permitPOA
Multi-day permitPOA


Education/Not-for-profit photography


DescriptionStandard fee
Half-day permit (<4 hours)$430
Full-day permit (>4 hours)$675


Family/portraiture photography


DescriptionStandard fee
2-hour permit$160