Cyclone Gita clean-up: Access to re-open into isolated Golden Bay

Guided convoys will begin at 9am on Sunday over slip-ravaged State Highway 60 near Nelson, after the road was seriously damaged by Cyclone Gita on Tuesday.

The partial opening will be a relief to many in Golden Bay who have been cut off, but those around Riwaka and Marahau are more concerned about the big clean-up job ahead.

When Cyclone Gita came knocking at Daryl James' Brooklyn Valley Orchard on Tuesday evening, she hit with lightning speed, sweeping a pre-fab kitchen block 50 metres across the property.

"It just got picked up by a wall of water and pushed to where it is now," he told Newshub.

"I actually haven't checked to see how it is. I think it's rooted."

The brief but powerful storm turned small creeks into raging rivers, carrying trees and debris through Mr James' property.

Video shot by his wife shows a bridge submerged under the torrent, but the bridge is remarkably still standing on Saturday.

The storm has caused widespread damage to the orchard and Mr James said the clean-up job is a "daunting task".

"You know, we'll be cleaning up for years and we'll never get it back to how it was, which is tough, really."

In nearby Marahau, a local man known as Banksie had to abandon his caravan when Gita suddenly arrived with a vengeance.

"I heard a really big boom from the gully up there, then a whole lot of banging and popping as the trees were snapping as they were coming down," he said.

The downed trees quickly formed a dam in the valley above his caravan.

"When she went pop, all of this stuff came through in probably the space of about 15 minutes," he said.

Incredibly, his caravan survived.

"It took a couple days to dig it up, but it's all good."

The guided convoys will take the road over Takaka Hill, which has been closed since the cyclone hit due to slips.

NZTA says priority will be given to essential vehicles, which will be those bringing supplies into Golden Bay, those getting people out and Fonterra Milk.