The mother of missing British backpacker Hugo Palmer said she feels “completely numb” after she visited the beach where her son was last seen.
Tanya McNab flew to Australia to join a vigil at Shelly Beach, on the New South Wales coast near Sydney.
Authorities in Australia launched a major search operation for Mr Palmer, 20, and his friend Erwan Ferrieux after their belongings were found on the beach last week.
Despite police searching both on water and land there has been no sign of the pair for almost a week.
Speaking at the beachside vigil, McNab said her son had been living his dream by visiting Australia, but it had “only just started”.
“I’m feeling numb – completely numb. I have been since I heard the news,” she said.
The two friends has been travelling across Australia since November.
Two walkers stumbled across towels and clothing on the beach early in the morning, which led police to a car parked nearby.
Personal items the men were unlikely to abandon, including passports, keys and wallets, were found inside the vehicle, sparking concerns.
McNab said the support from friends and family had been vital since she heard the dreadful news.
“It’s a comfort to me, the messages from his friends and the support here has helped.
“They said they’d been honoured to have him in their lives.”
Her son’s clothes and belongings were laid out on the sand alongside flowers during the vigil.
A local woman, Betsey Drake, who helped organise the vigil ,told Australian television she wanted to mark the pair’s disappearance.
“We decided as a community we were missing them too, even though we never met them.”
“We wanted to do something to commemorate them having been here and being lost from this place,” she added.
Although the large-scale searches were scaled back on Wednesday, sweeps of the area were due to continue.
Heavy seas which have battered the New South Wales coastline for days had hampered efforts to locate the missing duo.