My girlfriend and I are planning to travel pretty much all Australia (including tasmania) for a year and also New Zealand,Solomon Islands etc in that time. We really don't have much knowledge of Australia or travelling however we do know someone who lives in Perth who has said we can stay with them to start with until we find our feet. Has any got any advice they can offer us on things such as - bank accounts, jobs (like what's best), travel for getting from place to place (is the train pass beneficial) and any other useful advice we need.
(We have already got our WHV)
Which guide book are you using?
Bank accounts: I don't know the current state of things, but in the past each bank tended to have a similar account where you can make unlimited withdrawals (from the bank's own ATMs) for $5/month, or 4-5 withdrawals per month for free. I went with ANZ way back when, mostly because of how extensive their network of ATMs was, but one or two other banks boast similarly extensive networks, I think. Read their websites. As for opening a bank account: Walk into any bank branch within the first few weeks of arriving in Australia, carrying your passport and AUD $50 for an initial deposit, fill in some forms, tell them not to send you any bank statements, and give them your hostel's address for sending your debit card to (takes a few days to a week). Walk out ~20 minutes later. (Note: After the first few weeks you need more forms of identification than just your passport - things you won't have as a backpacker - so don't wait too long.)
Long distance trains aren't really useful for travelling around in Australia. You'd take a train mostly for the experience. It's busses that'll actually bring you wherever you want to be going - so a greyhound pass tends to be your best bet. Although if you want more flexibility with your route, you can also just watch out for cheaper local alternatives (firefly express tends to be cheap on the adelaide - melbourne - sydney stretch for example), maybe sometimes rent a car (especially when going in the other direction from what most people do, so you can score relocations), maybe sometimes do a cheap internal flight. Or what a lot of backpackers do, is buy a cheap car from a backpacker who's about to leave, drive that around for a year, and sell it on to the next person again. (But do calculate potentially very high maintenance costs on that.)
New Zealand is absolutely amazing, and I personally prefer it quite a bit over Australia. Do be sure to give it enough time to experience properly; I'd say at least a month, but more is always better. (They have a WHV of their own, so if you like it, you can always consider staying in the region for another year. *g*)
As for work: Depends entirely on your skill set. Specified regional work (fruit picking, far work, mining, ...) is popular for giving you the ability of a 2nd year WHV. Otherwise office work and bar work are perennial favorites. But if you have skills in IT, construction or nursing, there's high demand for that.