Residents of North Bundaberg in Queensland have been allowed back into the suburb to begin cleaning up after a week of flooding.
Earlier on Sunday, the line of cars waiting to cross a bridge into North Bundaberg stretched for kilometres through the city.
Authorities are trying to control access and want everyone back out by Sunday evening so they can continue repairs to vital infrastructure.
The ABC reports that with no power, water or sewerage, and roads with gapping sink-holes, police did not want people staying overnight in the suburb.
Residents who have returned are struggling to deal with what they have found.
Bundaberg Deputy Mayor David Batt says they now understand the scale of the disaster.
"I think a lot of people coming out now realise what we were trying to explain to them before they got over there of how bad it is," he said.
Overall, Bundaberg's damage bill is estimated to be $A200 million.
Many people say they will not stay in the area.
Queensland's Building Service Authority is urging flood-affected residents to clean and repair their homes carefully.
While owners want to restore their homes quickly, the authority says it is essential houses dry out before repairs begin.