By Phil Mercer
BBC News, Sydney
More than 20,000 people remain isolated by floods in eastern Australia.
Incessant rain and strong winds that have caused chaos in areas in between Brisbane and Sydney have eased, but several major highways remain closed.
Forecasters are predicting more storms later this week; it could take up to two weeks for the floodwaters to recede fully.
The worst affected parts of northern New South Wales remain swamped by murky brown water.
The state premier Nathan Rees has described the region as an "inland sea".
Entire communities have been cut off, prompting rescue workers to deliver emergency rations to thousands of people trapped in their homes.
Farmers have reported losing large numbers of sheep and cattle, while residents have been warned to look out for venomous snakes lurking in the floodwaters that have inundated several town centres.
A natural disaster zone has been declared.
Coastal areas, including the popular resort town of Byron Bay, have been buffeted by abnormally high tides and waves up to 6m (18ft) high.
There is a warning that mass erosion on some beaches could change the landscape for good.
The wild storms that lashed parts of Queensland and New South Wales, which have claimed two lives in recent days, have abated, although forecasters have warned that more inclement weather is on the way.