You have a couple of long drives – Day 3, Wellington to Roturua and more particularly Day 5, Rotorua to Paihia. Rotorua to Paihia is a 7 hour drive i.e all day.
To cut down on some the driving you may wish to consider flying from Wellington to Rotorua or Taupo at the end of day 2. This would give you an extra day to do the trip north. There a plenty of places around Auckland where you could break your journe y for example the Waitakere Ranges to the west of Auckland, the Kumeu area to the north west or Puhoi, Orewa or Waiwera to the north (on the direct route north from Auckland)
Based on this your itinerary would look something like:
Wellington and Wellington to Rotorua or Taupo
Overnight Taupo or Rotorua
Overnight Taupo Rotorua
Rotorua to somewhere around Auckland
Overnight somewhere around Auckland
Auckland to Paihia
Paihia to Auckland
You may wish to consider taking an extra day for the trip north of Auckland and go via the Waipoua Forest and Hokianga and return down SH1 (Twin Coast Route)
Hope this helps.
Depending on what time you are arriving in Wellington and how long you will have been travelling maybe one night in Wellington. If it is was me I would one night in Taupo, one night in Rotorua, they are very close but very different.This gives you a day to visit what both have to offer.
I would not attempt Rotorua to Paihia in one day. There is just too much to see. As Lone Kauri says stop off just north of Auckland, Kumeu, Waitakere, or Muriwai and then travel to the Bay of Islands on State Highway 16 via our spectacular west coast. Allowing a day to do this you will be able to visit Matakohe Kauri Museum and view the kauri forests arriving in Paihia late afternoon.
Then return south via the east coast.
Also once again depending on time of departure from Auckland you may be able to sightsee before going to the airport.
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