Based on the feedback that I've received from TA, I've revised my itinerary (again) for a 7 day self-drive trip for 4 to NZ. I've eliminated any thoughts of doing parts of both islands and am focusing on just the north with multiple night stays in Rotorua and Taupo while beginning and ending the journey in Auckland.
Any comments and/or suggestions on the itinerary would be appreciated.
Day 1: Arrive in Auckland from Sydney - just a day to relax and walk around Auckland
Day 2: Drive from Auckland to Whitianga for the night (stops along the way including Thames and beaches).
Day 3: Whitianga to Rotorua. Stopping along the way at Waihi and Tauranga.
Day 4: Spend the day in and around Roturua.
Day 5: Rotorua to Taupo.
Day 6: Spend the day in and around Taupo.
Day 7: Drive from Taupo to Auckland. Spend the night in Auckland for the trip to LA the following afternoon.