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25 days in New Zealand- need itinerary suggestions

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We have 25 full days in New Zealand next February and would appreciate any suggestions on itinerary. I know we will be doing a lot of driving but I want to break the drives up so we don't have 8 hour drives, if possible. We want to focus on countryside not city.
We arrive in AKL early AM and the plan is to drive or fly (what do you suggest) to Bay of Islands to start our trip. We plan on staying there 2 or 3 nights then head to Rotorua but want to break that up with stays perhaps in Cormandel or Bay of Plenty.
On to Napier for wine then Wellington. We will visit the Marlborough Sounds area and do some wine there, too, then head south. We want to stay in a lodge at Arthur's Pass for 2 nights then on to FJ glacier, Milford Sound. I am really confused on where to stop along the way to see all these places. Then on to Mt. Cook. Is it best to see that via Dunedin or from Wanaka? We will end up at Christchurch so we can fly back to AKL for our flight to the US. Again, any suggestions to get me headed in the right direction are appreciated.

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