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Residents of the hardest hit suburb in Queensland's flood crisis have begun the heartbreaking journey of returning home to assess damage.
Police opened the Burnett Bridge to north Bundaberg residents at 6am today.
The suburb, where some houses have washed away and roads have collapsed into giant sinkholes, is subject to an exclusion zone.
Residents have been told they won't be able to stay in the suburb and will have to return back to the city's south after surveying damage.
They had to line up and have their ID checked on the bridge's southern side before they were allowed to cross.
Council warned residents on Friday that 10 homes had been completely destroyed and 30 were severely damaged.
But the looks of shock on the faces of people as they stepped off the bridge indicated they had to see the destruction for themselves for the gravity of the situation to sink in.
Residents were holding back tears and putting their hands up to their faces as they saw the turned over boats, smashed up houses and muddy cars that littered the suburb.
Some hopeful pet owners were holding small cages in the off chance they found their cat or dog still alive among the ruins.
Bundaberg Regional Council CEO Peter Byrne had earlier warned residents that many pets had been found dead in north Bundaberg, but those found alive had been passed on to the RSPCA.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott will fly into Bundaberg on Saturday morning to see the damage and speak with affected residents.
Clearly emotional residents, some clutching photo albums and other valuables, began filtering back across the bridge a short time later.
Meirion Roberts said he was relieved to see the water hadn't reached the second level of his home and he brought back one of his daughter's stuffed toys to show his family most of the house was fine.
"We lost some things like washing machines that we couldn't take upstairs, but overall we fared pretty well," he told AAP.
"I felt guilty seeing a lot of the other houses that were worse off."
Mr Roberts said the experience was hard, but it needed to happen.
"I've been worried sick and haven't been sleeping, so it's a real load off," he said.