Almost 1,000 tourists were stuck in the New Zealand tourist town of Franz Josef on Monday after torrential rains closed roads.
Several washouts and landslides north and south of the township, located near the Franz Josef glacier, have blocked roads in both directions and the only way in or out is by helicopter.
The civil defence said it was likely that the road would not open before Friday.
In the meantime they would fly in enough food and supplies for those who are trapped in the town.
“We’re a bit stunned today and it’s fair to say it’s extremely bad news for our tourism sector,” Westland District Council Mayor Bruce Smith told local media outlet Stuff, confirming that about 970 tourists were stuck in Franz Josef.
Elsewhere the South Island, flood damage on the Rangitata Bridge, on State Highway 1, cut off Christchurch from Timaru.
Lakes at tourist hotspots Queenstown and Wanaka burst their banks earlier in the week, causing road closures and businesses to shut.
In the first week of the month the South Island already received three times December’s average monthly rainfall.
The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research recorded 872,000 lightning strikes around the country and in the waters offshore since Friday. (dpa/NAN)