Australia Weather News

The first group of students arrived in Townsville about 12:30pm on Sunday. - ABC

All school children and their teachers evacuated from an isolated campsite south of Tully have returned home as major flooding continues to slowly ease in north Queensland.

Flooded roads had isolated the group of more than 70 school students and their teachers at the Echo Creek Adventure Camp south of Tully for almost a week.

Four children had already been airlifted out on Saturday because of medical reasons.

The first planes on Sunday took off from Tully airport at about noon destined for Townsville, carrying some of the students.

By 4:00pm, the last of the stranded school kids had arrived in Townsville.

Rescued camper Caileigh May looked relieved to be back with her mother after the plane ride home.

"There was a lot of turbulence," she said.

Her mother, Teresa May, said Caileigh had been well looked after throughout the ordeal.

"Her safety was number one and I'm glad that they did a really good job of looking after her," Ms May said.

"Happy to have her home but nice to not have them both [siblings] fighting."

Police State Disaster Coordinator Deputy Commissioner Bob Gee said local farmers had helped authorities find back roads to access the stranded kids at the school camp.

Deputy Commissioner Gee praised the efforts of local police, emergency services and private transport operators involved in the evacuation and thanked the children, teachers and parents for their patience.

"I think these kids will remember it for the rest of their life," he said.

While student Daniel Brassington was pleased to finally be home, he said it had been a big adventure.

"We did laser tag, and then we did archery, we swam in the dam a lot until it started raining, we did snorkelling, which was the funnest [sic] thing," he said.

His father, Lyle Brassington, said although he had been anxious about his son, he had been confident Daniel was safe.

"Dad's very happy his son is home — bit worrying because of the rain we had," Mr Brassington said.

"They had a mobile up there that let us … ring and we would talk to him, so most parents got to be able to talk to the kids.

"To talk to him we were reassured he was in safe hands."

Earlier on Sunday, two helicopters were flown in from Cairns but not used, as floodwaters over the roads receded this morning and emergency services were able to drive the children to the nearby airport in troop carriers.

From Townsville Airport, the children and staff were taken back by taxi to their primary school — Willows State School — for collection by parents on Sunday afternoon.

Townsville Police Superintendent Steve Munro said the "paramount concern" had been the safety and wellbeing of the children.

"The kids have been kept in really, really good spirits by a tremendous effort by the teachers on the ground with them," he said.

"I think in the fullness of time the kids will sit back and reflect on this as one of those wonderful life experiences they've been through."

Superintendent Munro said it had "been a really emotional roller coaster for the parents".

He said the children being in good spirits showed their resilience.

"You've got children who have been away from home five or six, sometimes seven days — they were keen to get home," he said.

"I think that just shows the resilience of the children, particularly the community of Townsville, so a really, really positive day for everybody."

Floodwaters receding in Ingham

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has headed north to inspect flood damage to properties and business, arriving in Ingham, north of Townsville, on Sunday afternoon.

Ms Palaszczuk praised the community's strength during the crisis.

"I have been absolutely overwhelmed by their positive attitude," she said.

"I don't think people in the south-east realise how much impact this flood has had on this region and the surrounding communities.

"About 90 per cent of properties have had some impact from the floodwaters.

"Power has not been cut-off … but we do still have the Bruce Highway blocked, we do still have isolated communities, so of course we're making sure we can get supplies to them."

Ms Palaszczuk said the State Government was offering grants to residents directly affected by flooding, as well as assistance for small businesses and farmers.

"We want to get that money out to people as soon as possible," she said.

She said jointly-funded Commonwealth-State disaster relief funding had also been made available to about a third of local councils across the state.

Mr Gee said the flood event in north Queensland was not yet over.

"We've still got half the town [Ingham] split, highways cut off, so road safety — thinking about the water you're using and staying prepared," he said.

Local Hinchinbrook Mayor Ramon Jayo offered his thanks for help during the floods in north Queensland.

"The Queensland firies, police, ambulance, SES — they have been tremendous — they have assisted our community through a hard time," he said.

In Ingham there were visible signs the water had started to recede on Sunday morning.

Many roads, homes and businesses were still inundated, with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) expecting the major flood to continue along the Herbert River to Halifax.

The rivers, which peaked upstream, were not expected to peak around the town of Ingham or downstream, but the bureau left a major flood warning in place, saying the water could recede slowly.