Passengers stranded for more than six hours at Waitomo by a broken-down bus are understood to be on their way to New Plymouth on a replacement vehicle.
A woman with a relative travelling to New Plymouth says the replacement arrived at about 6.30pm after the Naked Bus company sent a mechanic to assess an apparent problem with the original vehicle's clutch.
She said her daughter's sister-in-law, 25, had run down her cellphone battery after giving a running text commentary from Waitomo while passengers became increasingly agitated by the delay.
She understood the passengers had to leave the bus because of smoke from the burnt-out clutch.
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The woman, who did not want to be named, said the bus was full and one of its passengers was pregnant.
Disappointed tourists were also on board.
The bus left Auckland at 7.15am, and was originally due in New Plymouth at 2pm after passing through Waitomo at 11am.
Its replacement is not expected to arrive in New Plymouth until about 9.30pm.
Naked Bus managing director Hamish Nuttall confirmed the six-hour delay. He said replacement buses were sent as soon as the company became aware of the mechanical problems.
He said he was very sorry for the inconvenience and the company would be refunding passenger fares.