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help with Croatia itinerary

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My daughter (adult) and I will be traveling to Croatia in mid April. We fly into Zagreb and out of Dubrovnik. We have tried several different itineraries but are having trouble making our plan work with the ferry schedule. Because we are traveling in the off season, it appears that we will need to skip Korcula and perhaps Hvar unless we want to travel early in the morning, which we don't. We also don't want to arrive in Dubrovnik too late in the evening. We plan to get a rental car at the airport in Zagreb and return it to the airport in Split. We enjoy nature and hiking, coastlines, cultural activities, beautiful buildings, some museums and general exploring. We would rather see less areas more thoroughly than rush. Our tentative plan:

night 1 Zagreb
nights 2,3 Plitvice
nights 4, 5 Split
nights 6, 7 Hvar
nights 8, 9, 10 , 11 Dubrovnik (with day trips)

We welcome any recommendations for places to visit, stay and eat. We particularly welcome advice about the transportation system. If we go to Hvar, will we go back to Split before going to Dubrovnik or go via the islands? If we have to go through Split to get from Hvar to Dubrovnik, does the bus schedule connect with the ferry schedule or do we need to spend another night in Split before taking the bus to Dubrovnik? We've looked at the ferry website and from what we can tell, there are few ferries in April. It appears that there is an 8 am ferry from Hvar to Split on Tuesdays in April but we aren't sure we want to book accomodations based on an uncertain ferry schedule. thank you in advance for any help you may offer.

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