A boys' trip away to bring in New Years' Eve in far north Queensland has turned into a frantic search for answers after a NSW man vanished from the side of a main highway.

Queensland police have kicked off a land and air search just outside Charters Towers for Newcastle man Jayden Penno-Tompsett, 22, who has not been seen since he left friends in the early hours of Sunday.
He was last seen after some of the group had stopped briefly at a Flinders Highway roadhouse near Charters Towers, still 90 minutes out of Townsville and nearly 500km south of their ultimate destination.

Police on Friday released CCTV images of Mr Penno-Tompsett in the early hours of New Year's Eve at the roadhouse. He has not been seen since.

Police said there were concerns for Jayden's welfare because he had made no contact with family or friends, which was out of character, and had only taken his phone and wallet.

Jayden's father, Brendan Tompsett told Fairfax Media that the 22-year-old had been in a car with one friend when they had a dispute and Jayden "just headed off".

But Mr Tompsett did not know what the argument was about.

"One of his mates rang me [Wednesday] morning because they tried to make a police report but they couldn't because they weren't family, then I rang and made the police report," he said.

"We don't really care what the issues are, we don't care about any of that, we just need to know he's safe.

He described his son - an only child who had been working in the demolition industry until recently - was "just a wild Newy boy".

But he said it was completely out of character for his son to not contact him, his mother, stepfather or best mates.

"Did he start walking and then hitched? We don't want to speculate but that really is all we can do at the moment," Mr Tompsett said.

Senior Sergeant Cavanagh said although the area was "quite rocky and hilly terrain," it was almost impossible to get lost in the area where Jayden was last seen because of the number of properties.

Senior Sergeant Cavanagh said although police did not receive a missing persons report until Wednesday, Jayden's friends had been posting pleas on social media for any information about Jayden's whereabouts.

Jayden Penno-Tompsett is described as Caucasian in appearance, 175cm tall, with mousey brown hair.

He was last seen wearing a black singlet, navy blue board shorts, and black and red thongs.

Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Queensland Police's Policelink line on 131 444.