I’m Australian and hung out with all the backpackers, so I know quite a bit about it!!!
If you have a WHV you’re actually classed as a resident. So you pay the same tax as the rest of us. You need to apply for a TFN, though, otherwise you’ll be paying 30~40% without one. The first $6000 that you earn is tax-free; your employer will set up a super fund for you and take money out of your pay for it (a superannuation fund = pension fund) - since you’re only a temporary resident, you can apply for the money back when you leave. Keep all the paperwork when you first sign up with your job!!!
On a WHV, you’re limited to working at the same place for no more than 6 months. You can study. If you spend at least two-months working on a farm somewhere, you can apply for an extension at the end of your time and stay for up to two years. Don’t go through agents for farm work unless you know they’re reputable - though you should be OK.
Don’t trust the Asian-run businesses. 99% of them are dodgy. They’re the cheapest places to get plane fares, however (though they do jack the prices up for a white face).
Some people stick to one city; some people work for a few months, make some money, go blow it travelling, and start working wherever they end up when they don’t have enough money to go on. Which seems to me like a better way to play it but it’s whatever floats your boat!
Dating scene is fine for everyone, providing you find samples that meet your tastes!
$150 a week living out of a van sounds awfully optimistic to me!! Your average meal out will be around $15 - $6/7 for fast food, $10 for an asian-run place, $15 min for an Aussie-run place, then we go up from there. Fruit and veg are generally decently cheap, pies used to be cheap and still are in the country. In the city, you’re looking at around $180/week for a room in a sharehouse… not necessarily in the middle of the city. Usually includes internet/electricity. However much you think is the max someone could possibly charge for something, add a few dollars and then you’ll have the Australian price. Fuel is on a cycle - It’s cheaper during the week and more expensive on the weekends. Goes up 30c a litre on a public holiday. Learn to accept this, grumbling about the corruption is NOT appreciated by anyone.
But it IS an awesome place for a trip. I don’t think I’d go back to live, but I’d go back to backpack in a heartbeat. I’m longing to go to Airlie Beach for a few months.
This is PROBABLY the best site for would-be backpackers: tntdownunder.com/
If you want to do it, GO. Seriously. You ain’t gonna do it just thinking about it XD