Filming and photography

Filming with Drones

You'll often require a permit to film or take photographs on public land in the shire. This includes television, feature films, advertising and television commercials, documentaries and music videos.

Exceptions are:

  • filming for news/current affairs programming
  • personal filming/photography (including filming for private events that occur on public land)

We require permits so we can make sure your activity complies with our regulations and doesn't cause any safety issues for our community members.

Who manages what land?

Council is not the only organisation responsible for the management of areas around the shire where you might want to film.

You'll need to make sure you contact the right people.

Bells Beach Surfing Recreation Reserve is the only area of coast directly managed by Council.

Use the below as a general guide to determine which group to contact or you can view the map showing land management responsibility for coastal beaches(PDF, 10MB) (note this doesn't include inland areas):

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee

  • 37kms of our beaches and coastline (except Bells Beach Surfing Reserve) Phone 03 5220 5055

Parks Victoria

  • the balance of our coastline (except Bells Beach Surfing Reserve). Anglesea 03 5220 2002


  • The Great Ocean Road itself and other major roads in the shire. Phone 03 5225 2558

Surf Coast Shire Council

  • Bells Beach Surfing Reserve (Note that commercial filming is not permitted at Bells Beach. Some rare exceptions may be made if the filming relates directly to specific elements of Indigenous culture or surfing culture).
  • Council-managed roads
  • The townships themselves (but excluding the beaches)

Contact us as soon as you think you might want to use a Council-controlled location, regardless of the size and nature of your proposed project.

Early contact can confirm if we do in fact manage that area and can save delays later.

Low impact activities

You still need to contact us if your filming activities are minor and ‘low impact’ but you may not need to provide as much detail in the application for a permit

Low impact filming activities are:

  • a filming activity of four people or less (includes all production crew and talent)
  • no more than one camera, one tripod, and handheld sound recording equipment
  • those where reasonable public access and public safety is maintained at all times (public pathways, footpaths and roads must not be blocked).

Early contact can streamline the process. We will still require proof of your current public liability insurance and the basic details of when and where you plan to film.

Filming Permit Fees

We don't normally charge a permit fee, but may charge for complex applications and/or ongoing filming that require costs like additional officer time, preparing for or following up after filming and parking permits. We'll negotiate that cost with you based on the requirements of your project.

Apply and get more information

To get more information on whether or not you need to apply through us, fill out this enquiry form or contact:

Darryn Chiller
Coordinator Communications and Community Engagement
Surf Coast Shire Council
PO Box 350 Torquay Vic 3228
Ph 5261 0600

To apply for a permit, complete the filming application form(DOCX, 140KB) and send it to the contact above. We will provide an initial response to your application within five business days of receiving it. We will issue a permit as soon as possible, but the more complex your filming activity, the longer it may take.