The parents of a missing Chinese student, presumed drowned in the sea north of Auckland, have arrived in New Zealand to visit the search area.

Yue Gui, 30, known as Alice, was last seen just over a week ago at the Leigh Marine Reserve, operated by Auckland University, about 80km north of Auckland.

The PhD student was due to take ocean temperatures and police fear her body may have been swept out to sea.

Her parents arrived in Warkworth this morning, Sergeant Bede Haughey, of Warkworth police, told NZPA.

"They just wanted to see the area for themselves so they've gone out to Leigh with some university staff.

"They're feeling pretty traumatised, as you would expect.

"They have the final realisation that their daughter won't be coming home alive. They're now just focusing on getting their daughter home."

Mr Haughey said Ms Gui's parents, who were accompanied by a niece and her husband, would be in New Zealand until at least Thursday.

Mr Haughey said that the search for Ms Gui's body resumed at first light today.

"The dive squad have flown up from Wellington and returned to the water this morning."

The area where Ms Gui disappeared is rugged with numerous caverns and gullies where a body could be trapped.

Search teams focused on a cave at Waterfall Gutter over the weekend where her shoes and hat were found, Mr Haughey said.

"There's a big cave in there in the cliff face. They excavated about 180 square metres of gravel so they're satisfied Alice was not in there. They also searched the coastline and checked the reefs from the air."

- NZPA