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Traveling solo to Australia for 1 year & have questions, please help!

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Here is my situation. I am from America.
I went to Australia once already for 6 months, and the father of my child is over there so I decided to go back over there for a year and stay.
I am traveling from North of America, and will be staying in South Australia. My son will be 1 and 1/2 by the time we go, and 2 years old when we return.
My questions are about expenses and tips on how to make it as cheap as possible. I will be staying with him basically rent free, helping with food and such. I have to pay for a visa, my child's passport, plane tickets, and spending money.
What would the best visa choice be? I have been looking into the tourist visa, but is this the one I should go with?
How about tips on plane tickets? What should I expect traveling with a toddler?
I'm just wondering if I should even go for a year or possibly less? What should I expect as far as expenses if I do go for a year?
So many questions!
Please help.

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