400 stranded tourists freed as SH6 in West Coast reopens

Hundreds of tourists who became trapped on the West Coast when Cyclone Fehi ravaged New Zealand are finally back on the road.

State Highway 6 has reopened after slips, fallen trees and power lines forced its closure on Thursday.

On Friday evening 400 of the 600 tourists who became stranded in Haast still remained. The road was cleared on Saturday morning, letting them move on their way.

They weren't the only SH6 motorists to be stopped in their tracks by Fehi. Two hours away, around 115 people had to spend the night in their cars on Thursday night between Ross and Makarora.

They made it to Fox Glacier the following day.

The remnants of tropical Cyclone Fehi barrelled through the South Island on Thursday and Friday, cutting power, causing floods and slips and even flattening a church on the West Coast.

Both Dunedin and Buller declared a state of emergency on Thursday as torrential rain caused flooding and slips, closing roads and cutting off power to many residents. Both warnings were lifted the following day.

Further north, a king tide, accompanied by strong wind and rain, smashed huge waves against Nelson's waterfront causing devastating damage to buildings, roads and homes.