To me it make some sense to actually run with the topography and available routes of the NI.
Looking at the shape, it’s a narrow top+bottom with a fat gut (pretty much like myself).
One basic route from Cape Reinga south to about Clevedon, then an
a) West….Western Waikato -> Naki ->cut east towards Woodville as the WestCoast doesn’t offer much towards Welly
b) Central….Eastern Waikato like Pironga/Kaimango rd /Hauturu rd etc. all gravel to Piopio-Ohura ->
plenty of gravel choices towards Tongarito from there -> Whanganui River Rd. or Whangaehu Vly and all its choices towards Papanui Jcn-> Hunterville->Woodville to join with option a) and c)
c) East….Skirt Hunua + Coro, Port Jackson anyone? -> lots of choices around Rotorua to link with SH38, SH2 or Motu + East Cape -> Hawkes Bay-> bounce south between the SH2 and the coast from Hastings to Cape Palliser…..
picking up routes a) + b) around Weber or Pongaroa or so.
One route each for the north+south, 3 down the middle.
Whoever wants to, can zip down the east, run back up the centre, then run south again in the west to catch the ferry to Picton. 🙂