Last minute hotel accommodationAs a working holiday traveler Australia it won't be typical for your budget to extend to using hotels and motels for accommodation. Any sectional circumstances that you decide to use hotels or motels there are a number of ways for you to try and get the best price.
The most obvious example of when you should book super early in Australia is the New Years Eve celebrations and fireworks in Sydney. it's at this time of the year that Sydney is solidly overbooked and in any case you would expect to pay a normal price for accommodation. Booking at the last minute will absolutely mean that you will pay an outrageous price for even the most basic hostel dorm bed. the only way to overcome this is to book your Sydney New Years accommodation at least 6 months in advance. It's unlikely that you'll get a discount get a discount at all because the accommodation providers know that they are going to book out, but at least you won't be paying through the nose at the last minute.
In a number of circumstances you'll find that booking at the last minute will expose the best prices for accommodation and for tours. The perfect example of this would be booking accommodation in a tourist destination during a very much off peak time. For instance Noosa Heads in February or Cairns during the wet season. Contact accommodation providers directly on the day of arrival if you know that there are plenty of beds available at that accommodation or across the entire town. You can then ask for the best rate possible or even ask for a price match against a competing hotel or motel. By ringing around at the last minute in this way you'll often find some really incredible pricing made available to you as Hotel managers discount rooms in favour putting some money in the bank.
Extra tip: You have to make sure that you are talking to someone with authority to discount. If you sense in your phone call that you are not talking to a person with authority, you are wise to ask them "Do you have to clear a discount with your manager?" If there is a pause, you know that they probably do. If the response is a firm no, and they say they are offering the best price then they probably are and you should move onto the next hotel.
Ask for a corporate rate
Its a bit cheeky to ask for a corporate rate as a working holiday traveler but why not. If the hotel is prepared to offer a business a better rate, then why not you.
Ask for a price match for a booking website
It is often the case that hotels and resorts offer discounted prices through web sites like Expedia.com, Booking.com and Wotif.com.au while offering "walk-ins" (people that arrive at the counter, the "rack rate" (normal price). Before arriving at a hotel or calling for the best price, research the web site above to see if that hotel is offering a better price that night or that week. They should be happy to price match the web site if challenged. If you are feeling confident and speaking to someone with authority, then you can challenge them for a "better price than online". The reason they should be happy to offer an even better price is that they are paying 10% - 25% commissions to the booking web site for the online booking. So you booking direct with the hotel is putting the commission back in their pocket, or at least making it grounds for negotiation. If you can't get an extra discount, maybe you can get a free breakfast or other appreciation.
In example that a hotel has a normal rate of $120 per night, but you spot a price of $100 online. This will actually mean that they are making probably just $80 once they pay a commission. You should be targeting a price of $80, or $100 with breakfast (as their real cost of breakfast is very low).