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Advice needed on Croatian national parks

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Daughter and I are still I long way off from our trip planned for September 2014 but then dreaming is part of the process, right? We hope to fly into Dubrovnik, spend a few days there (with a day trip to Mostar); ride the bus up to Split where we will join a bike tour of Hvar & Brac. From there, Plitvice Lakes is on our "must do" list (how could we not? - everyone has raved about how fabulous they are!) but would like advice on what else are "must sees". Two other parks that have caught our interest: Paklenica National Park (Northern Dalmatian area) and Ucka Nature Park (along the Kvarner Coast, between Istria & Rijeka). Has anyone been to these? Can you recommend one over the other? Are we trying to do too much?

After Plitvice Lakes we will have 3-4 days left and thought we would fly out of Zagreb (or perhaps another airport ?) We haven't booked air tickets yet and want to draft out the itinerary first so we can pick the best cities to fly in and out of. I would consider renting a car after we leave the coast but am happy with the buses too.

Would you recommend Istria? Is it a “can’t miss” spot or considering what we already have planned or is it best to leave it for next time? My travel philosophy has always been to enjoy select areas well, and not try to do everything.

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