About 3000 people are trapped on the cyclone-ravaged Whitsunday Islands as food and water supplies dwindle, and reports of looting emerge.

Hotel guests stranded on cyclone-ravaged Daydream Island have been given just one bottle of water each to last them until evacuation, which is being hampered by continued bad weather.

Tourists are growing increasingly desperate, and many on the mainland are trying to flee via roads littered with storm debris after Category 4 Cyclone Debbie.

Anger is also brewing after heartless thieves used the storm devastation as cover to steal from businesses.


"Leave town, you are not welcome in the Whitsundays if you want to do that," Banjos restaurant chef Damien Rogers told the Whitsundays Times, after thousands of dollars of alcohol, footy tipping money and a safe was looted from the Airlie Beach business.

Source: 9 News

"This is the biggest cyclone I have ever seen and for someone to go around stealing while people are locked down, you are lower than dog s**t as far as I'm concerned."

Cash and an iPad were among the items looted from Cherrie Baby Boutique in nearby Proserpine.

The official Hamilton Island Facebook page said the airport would reopen today, and Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Qantas are to provide additional flights through to Saturday until all guests were returned home.

We can advise Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Qantas will be providing additional flights tomorrow to assist guests with...

Posted by Hamilton Island on Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Meanwhile, planned mass evacuations of Hamilton and Daydream islands were cancelled yesterday as holiday-makers struggled without power or a way home.

The Facebook page also reported that there were no injuries on the island to guests, residents or staff.

Daydream Island was unable to send any guests home overnight because of adverse weather conditions.

"The harbourmaster has not given permission for any marine vessels to operate until the waterways are safe," the Daydream Island Resort and Spa posted on Facebook last night.

"In addition, we have been hampered by damage to key transport infrastructure both on Daydream and on regional roads and airports.

"As such, we will not be able to transport any guests off the island today."

Water on the island was rationed to one bottle a person for 471 guests and staff, the Courier-Mail reported.

"We've got a barge going out there tonight to keep them going until we can get the evacuation happening," Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said yesterday.

Tourists are plotting their escape back on the mainland at Airlie Beach, which was also badly damaged by the cyclone.

Some are planning to pay someone to drive a hire car from Mackay to Airlie Beach and back so they can catch a flight at a larger airport, news.com.au's Emma Reynolds reports from Airlie.

"It looks like the roads will be too flooded however, because the rain is still pouring here, lightning flashing and thunder rumbling," she said.

A boat is seen smashed against the bank at Shute Harbour, Airlie Beach in the wake of Cyclone Debbie. Photo / AAP
A boat is seen smashed against the bank at Shute Harbour, Airlie Beach in the wake of Cyclone Debbie. Photo / AAP

Jacqui McCullagh, who was staying on Hamilton Island with her friends, told the Courier-Mail that it "looked like a war zone".

"Boats washed ashore, houses without roofs, windows smashed in, trees snapped in half, gum trees torn out of the ground and those that do remain standing, are bare and lifeless," she said.

"The wind gusts were so ferocious, they sounded like freight trains passing by. The concrete walls were shaking non-stop all day."

Although the Whitsundays sustained severe structural damage, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was confident the tourist hot spots would bounce back.

"Our islands, our Whitsunday Islands, are some of the most beautiful, pristine islands in the world that people come from all around the world to visit," she said yesterday.

"They have been rebuilt before, and I know they can do it again."

Towns have been cut off throughout parts of north Queensland after Cyclone Debbie brought "phenomenal" rain.

Roads connecting Airlie Beach, Bowen and Proserpine have been flooded, hampering rescue and clean-up efforts in areas already battered by ferocious winds.

More than 60,000 homes are without power or communications.

The Bruce Highway is cut off north and south of Mackay and Proserpine River has burst its banks.

Residents in the Mackay area were told last night that there was only 24 hours of drinkable water left, the Courier-Mail reported.

Bureau of Meteorology hydrology manager Victoria Dodds told AAP that the rainfall had been "phenomenal", totalling more than 1000mm in 48 hours - about half a year's worth - in the Pioneer Basin.

Debbie was a Category 4 storm at its peak, but it has now been downgraded. However, the bureau still warns of damaging wind gusts and "intense" rain.

"This rainfall is likely to lead to major river flooding over a broad area this week," it said.

SunWater urged residents downstream of Kinchant Dam, west of Mackay, to "consider [the] need to self-evacuate or move to higher ground" as the water body threatened to overflow.

BOM weather services manager Richard Wardle said rainfall could reach 150mm in the Brisbane area today.

Palaszczuk visited the worst-hit areas by helicopter yesterday.

"Around Proserpine, it was like a town that was surrounded by a sea of water," she said.

"They have never seen so much water in their life."