Zeph, as alluded to in my earlier threads, the first thing you want to do is decide where you want to leave from. I left from San Diego. If you're going to leave from the east coast of the US and transit Panama then the start point of the crossing is different.
The common crossing would be Panama, Galapagos, Marquesas, Society Islands (Bora Bora, Moorea or Taihiti), Tonga, NZ, Australia
I did San Diego, Marquesas, Bora Bora, Raratonga, NZ. which includes some short hops but only because I've always wanted to see those particular places.
If you're leaving from more north in the US then consider Hawaii, American Samoa, Tonga, NZ, Australia
If you want to skip NZ then go to Tonga then on to Fiji and either directly to Australia or via New Cal.
It's really about breaking the journey into manageable chunks rather than a mix of really long legs and short hops. Unfortunately getting to the middle of the South Pacific takes at least one long voyage, whether from Panama or San Diego to Marquesas or California to Hawaii.
On any of these voyages, the weather considerations are really important and you don't want to be in the South Pacific anytime between November and March unless you're resting up on the equator somewhere,
Oh, and bye the way, I'm not a Kiwi, I'm a South African living in NZ.
Good luck with the voyage if you're going to do it and I hope you get what you want from it.