Australia WHM Visa Advice ( Van, Work, South East Asia)

I am looking into applying for the Australian WHM Visa. I’m hoping that someone who has taken the trip themselves might be able to give me some advice or point me in the right direction to continue my research.

I’m about to finish my last semester of my associates degree in California. I have a modest savings going and I plan on selling my truck to help finance the trip. my goal is to have at least $10k by the time I go abroad. My first question is if an associates degree fulfills the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education or equivalent requirement or do I need to complete my BA?

My second question is if renting or buying a van in Australia as a traveler is a good idea? Ive been told this is a good way to cut down cost of living expenses and increases mobility. Is this true? are there affordable vans to rent or buy that would be a better price then paying for rent or a hostel? If so, do you have any recommendations on where to acquire one?

My third question is in regards to what type of work I might expect to find. All of the articles I’ve read so far are rather click batey and don’t go into much detail. I have some food industry experience and could potentially see myself working in a bar or restaurant but my strongest skill set is building.
I have experience with metal working and a decent amount of carpentry. I would love to continue to grow these skills while abroad if possible. I also have certifications for commercial diving and hope to attain me dive master soon. I have deck hand experience working as a safety diver for a dive boat and would love to get back on the water in Australia. I understand that most people with WHM visas work seasonal jobs due to the 6 month employment restrictions. Would that restriction limit me from finding work that suits my skill sets?

My final question is how hard would it be to obtain a visa to travel into South East Asia after the WHM visa expires? My dream is to find work as a deck hand on a boat and sail up into SEA and island hop towards India. I know this is a pretty big aspiration and I admittedly haven’t done a ton of research yet. I would greatly appreciate it if someone could point me in the right direction about what sites to read up on so that I may try to get a sense of what obstacles I might encounter if I were to attempt such an expedition or if its even possible with covid restrictions and what not.

Thank you in advance for any advice you willing to share!

Australia WHM Visa Advice ( Van, Work, South East Asia)