After looking at a map and realising there are many options on routes to drive from Rotorua to Auckland I would love some advice from the locals and experts. We have a full day to complete the drive and are looking at going via the costal route of highway 2/25. Where should we start after leaving Rotorua eg Whakatane, Paengaro, Tauranga? Then head up to Kuaotumu, or from Hikuai to Thames and around to Auckland? Which are the "must see" areas and are there some which we could skip? Advice on where to stop and what to see on the way too would be much appreciated also.
We will be traveling in early May and enjoy nice scenic drives with stops for coffee and lunch on the way somewhere nice.
Thanks in advance,