The parents of a New Zealander grabbed by a crocodile in Australia have spoken of their pain as authorities continue to search for the missing woman.

Cindy Waldron had been swimming with her childhood friend, Leeann Mitchell, at a remote beach in far north Queensland at 10pm on Sunday when she was attacked.

Ms Waldron, 46, screamed "A croc has got me!" as Ms Mitchell tried to wrestle her friend free from the crocodile. Ms Waldron has not been seen since.

Ms Waldron's parents, Pat and Heather, were still coming to terms with the news this morning.

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Speaking from their Tauranga home, Mr and Mrs Waldron said: "We are pretty upset. Everybody knows about it. It's everywhere."

They said they had been trying to arrange flights to take them to Queensland but had so far not found anything before Thursday.

"There's nothing we can do as such but we need to be there on the ground to show that we are there, that we care. Our darling girl is gone," Mr Waldron said.

Mr Waldron said there had been an incredible show of support from the community.

"Our house was filled with people yesterday but we were too stunned to think 'what's our next move'."

Mr Waldron said Ms Mitchell had managed to contact Cindy's former boyfriend to tell the Waldron family what had happened.

"It was a hell of a shock," he said.

"Then we tried to get a hold of the police but couldn't get a hold of them until quite a bit later. We've had to chase the cops a bit, they haven't been quick in responding."

A spokeswoman for Mossman Hospital said this afternoon Ms Mitchell was in a stable condition.

Mr Waldron said Cindy even as an adult would call him "daddy".

Warning signs at an estuary in the Daintree National Park, in Queensland.
Warning signs at an estuary in the Daintree National Park, in Queensland.

He said his daughter had been living in Australia for about 26 years "but she's still a Kiwi".

He said he told Cindy she would need to either come home or get Australian citizenship because when she got to 65, she could miss out on getting a pension.

"Now she won't even get to that age," Mr Waldron said.

"It's absolutely awful."