Planning on visiting Australia (from the UK) next year with 2 friends for 6-9 months. Will likely have to work at some point, though as I'll be 32 by the time I get there, I understand I won't be allowed to apply for a Working Holiday Visa. This has kinda put a spanner in the works.
Has anyone encountered a similar problem, and if so are there alternative Visas and/or any other solutions to this problem?
On the off-chance that you're not yet 31 now, you can still apply. Your age at the time when you apply is what matters.
However, if you'll be 32 next year, chances are that you're 31 already. If you really have to work to be able to do this, I think you're pretty much out of luck. Unless you're a successful CEO, nurse, religious worker, athlete or movie maker or something like that, the only way you can get a work visa (I think) is to be sponsored by a company, or to attempt permanent residency.
Staying 6-9 months is easier though. You can apply for a 6-month visitor visa fairly painlessly - and there's always the option to hop over to New Zealand for a bit (a must do regardless, as New Zealand is truly gorgeous) and to then come back to Australia for a further three months.
This is the main entry point for Working in Australia at the Australian immigration website, btw.
Another relatively easy visa to get is a student visa which allows you to work 20 hours a week. But you have to have proof studying though, so that might not work so well for you.
Otherwise, I think your only option is what Sander says. Get a 6 monther, hop over to NZ (unfortunately, here the limit on a whv is 30 as well...) and then if you really want to, go back to oz for another 3 months on a new tourist visa.