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New Zealand-what cities for 15/16 days?

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I just bite the bullet and bought a ticket on Air New Zealand to meet up with my daughter who will be leaving for work in Antarctica out of Christchurch in February. I have 16 days and 15 nights to plan before leaving in a week and a half. I will be flying into Auckland and then flying home to the states out of Christchurch.I plan on renting a rental car and also possibly flying between the islands?
My daughter wants to go to Rotorua,the wineries down in Wellington, Mt. Cook Lodge,etc. I am NOT a big mountain driver so would even consider flying between some of the cities in the South Island if it isn't an arm and a leg.
I would be most grateful for anyone's favorite cities to try and see-possibly any hotel recommendations,etc. Can you sense my desperation? Thanks!!!!!

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