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Help needed for two novice travellers!!

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Hi everyone!!
Myself (20yrs) and my sister (23yrs) are planning our first backpacking trip and are in serious need of some tips, guidance and ideas from some more experienced travellers!!

We are planning to leave the UK and head to Thailand March 2014. We have already seen an organised tour that we would like to do for our first week that has been recommended by friends but would like some suggestions of other things to see and do for our second/third week.
After this we will head to Hong Kong for a week to stay with family on their boat :s!


Our next stop will be New Zealand. We plan to have two weeks in the South Island travelling around in a camper van but again would love your ideas/suggestions of things to see. We will then head to the north island to stay with family before finally heading to Australia for around 9/10 months and travelling/working are way around.
However, we are not sure of a good starting place in Australia, any ideas? We will have enough savings to keep us going in Aus for up to a month but would like to start somewhere where we can get in to work and meet lots of like-minded people!!

Anyway, I'm sorry for the essay but would really appreciate anyone's ideas/suggestions/tips to enrich our travels!!

(VERY) novice traveller x

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