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Getting around New Zealand

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I'm slowly in the process of planning a 12 week trip to NZ/Australia in February 2015 with my wife, and two sons, who will be aged 11 and 9. I am hoping to do six weeks in each country, starting in NZ. We are not a camping family and will be looking at sites such as airbnb to find longer term accommodations.

I have two early questions...
One...What is the best way, and most cost effective way to get around with a family? I've considered bus, buying an old car, renting a car, renting a camper, etc. many other postings, what itinerary would be suggested as a family in each spot? We generally dont enjoy city life too much, but will likely spend a week or so in Sydney where we will likely start our Australia trip. Would like to find six different locations/regions to minimize time spent travelling from place to place.

Any ideas? Thanks.

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