Holidaymakers in Coromandel stranded after flash flooding closes main road

Holidaymakers looking to make the most of the Queen’s Birthday weekend have been forced to choose between a long drive home or staying put after heavy rain caused flash flooding in the region.

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The main road into the region is closed, leaving people with the choice of a long drive via the coastal route or staying put. Source: 1 NEWS

Many people attempting to leave the region today have been turned around following the closure of the region’s main road, Kopu-Hikuai Road.

“We're stranded in Cooks Beach. We tried to get out early this morning before the high tide set in, but we got told to be turned around,” stranded holidaymaker Terry Gibson said.

Yesterday, Civil Defence warned people to begin heading home after wild weather over the weekend.

“There are a large number of motorhomes on the Coromandel and a lot of those, of course, had taken part in that marketing deal so with the high winds and everything else, we thought it was a really good idea that if they could get somewhere safe, or stay put - either or,” Thames-Coromandel District Council's Garry Towler said.

By mid-morning today, only some four-wheel-drive vehicles were allowed through.

“The rain has lingered a lot longer than we had anticipated," Mr Towler said.

In Whangamata, wild weather hampered efforts to right a stricken boat, with 500 litres of diesel on board leaking into the water.

The harbourmaster told 1 NEWS it is impossible to tell how much diesel fuel has leaked into the water, and they are unable to deploy its oil spill equipment until after the rain clears.

Business owners in Pauanui reported a bumper trade this weekend before people were forced to leave due to the wild weather. The road has since closed, stranding people in the town.

"We've had to ring all our bosses and call in sick for tomorrow and everyone’s been really good, actually, so all the bosses said, ‘Stay safe, look after your families and we'll see you when we see you,'" Mr Gibson said.