So following alot of advice on here, I have revised the south island plan and am making progress on the North!
So, I am now thinking the 3rd - 6th of Jan (4 days), starting in Owera on the 3rd.
The options I see is driving from there up to 90 mile beach on the 3rd. Spending the 4th self exploring and then driving to Bay of Islands on the 5th, staying to the 6th before heading back to Auckland.
Another option I am considering to reduce us driving is Owera - Bay of Islands on the 3rd, and then taking one of the many coach tours to 90 mile beach and cape Regina for one day, staying in the Bay of Islands area until the 6th before heading to Auckland early evening. It feels a lot less rushed, and means we will get to drive on the 90 mile beach, see Cape Regina, sand surf etc - a hectic one day but no driving for us and more time based in Bay of Islands.
Would we be missing out on any 'must sees' by taking the coach trip to 90 mile beach / Cape Regina, rather than driving ourselves and basing for 2 nights? Given our time, anyone in the 'know' think the coach idea is actually a good compromise to fit in 90 mile beach etc
As always, your help has been fantastic and very much apprecited!