Sombre and shaken holidayers and residents tried to gain whatever information they could as a power outage blocked their mobile phone coverage and internet access on Wednesday.
Confusion descended on towns hit by bushfire, as Canberrans and other visitors wanting to return home tried to get updates about road closures after losing their phone service.
Petrol stations were closed in Milton and Ulladulla for much of the day, and out of fuel in Batemans Bay, slowing holidayers trying to escape, while a power outage had them queuing outside supermarkets after fires hit the South Coast.
Petrol stations had reopened in Ulladulla by Wednesday evening.
Customers queued outside Milton's IGA to buy food and water as the district went without power on Wednesday.
The supermarket was letting in one customer at a time and limited the amount of items they could buy to six during the outage.
Milton IGA co-director Shane Wilson stood at the head of the line, waving customers through as others left with food.
"As you can understand it's just like a cave in there so we've got staff with a torch walking around, just doing a dollar value on what they buy," he said.
"We're just limiting [items per customer] so we can let more people through.
"I think we're in this situation for a couple of days."
Customers paid in cash only and staff calculated their totals using calculators.
"We got here early this morning to see what was happening and realised we had a lot of loss factor in all our fresh products," Mr Wilson said.
The supermarket was giving away its meat after the outage stopped its refrigerators, but the business told customers to use it on Wednesday.
Customers said they were happy to wait, while others were killing time as they waited for the roadblocks to lift.
Staff guided customers through the darkened aisles with flashlights as they volunteered and kept the shop running on their days off.
Batemans Bay resident Emma Schirmer was lining up outside the supermarket, waiting to buy supplies.
"I'll just see what we can get," she said.
"Thankfully we stocked up in Batemans Bay, lots of water, and fruit and vegetable," she said.
She had evacuated with her three-month-old infant on Tuesday to Mollymook after bushfire threatened Batemans Bay.
A roadblock was keeping her away from her home town on New Year's Day.
Despite a petrol shortage in the Milton and Ulladulla district, she had a quarter of a tank left.
"I don't know what's going to happen," Ms Schirmer said.
She expected to be in Milton for another few days after hearing conditions would worsen again on Thursday.
Mr Wilson said customers were donating to firefighters as they bought their food at the IGA and people had been patient as they queued outside.
"No one's pushed the boundaries, they understand," he said.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Endeavour Energy website estimated power could be restored to some of the town by Thursday evening.
Eurobodalla Shire Council and the NSW Rural Fire Service urged visitors to leave via Narooma as soon as possible, but warned people should only do so if they had enough petrol to get to Cooma.