Nelson Cyclone Fehi clean-up to cost millions

The damage around the Nelson-Tasman coastline from Cyclone Fehi is so bad some residents say they won't be returning to their homes.

Last week's flooding caused so much damage, the district's mayor says the final clean-up bill will run into the millions.

The storm damage to Roger and Chrissy Old's home is severe. The carpet has already been removed from the couple's Ruby Bay home.

Ms Old has always worried about the rising sea, and after eight years her husband says it's now likely they'll be leaving for good. 

"Let's put it this way, my wife doesn't want to come back here. 

"If we ever did come back here, this house would have to be lifted another metre."

Drone footage from Rabbit Island just west of Nelson shows the scale of devastation.

With piles of debris still littering roads, Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne is expecting a big clean-up bill.

"I would expect it to be more than $1 million, but that's about as close as we're at," he says.

Mr Kempthorne says damage is varied, ranging from beaches, roads, sewage stations and private properties. 

"Advice for people who've had damage to their properties is first thing contact their insurance company, go through the various lots of damage and what needs to be tidied up."

Insurance companies have six weeks to total up the damage. Only then will the Insurance Council know exactly how much the entire storm will cost, but it's already saying it expects claims will certainly run into the millions.