I am resident in the UK on the WHV here so it's much cheaper to get the travel insurance here, particularly for europe.
However, if you find a travel insurance company that does long stay backpacker insurance it will work out cheaper. Like worldcare or 1cover. there are plenty out there just do a few quotes. i've also found using comparison sites you get a cheaper quote (for whatever reasons). so i ended up with infinity in the uk through moneysupermarket, the amount was cheaper than going directly to the supplier.
Also note; when i applied they seemed to care ALOT about it covering maternity.
Immigration officer: "Do you have children?"
IO: "Do you plan on having children?"
Me: "God No"
IO: "We will call you insurance company to check it covers maternity and repatriation"
Me; "ok" (looking concerned as i bought it on the cheap)
my insurance cost me £70 - i guess about $100 AUD for 12 months
Now i checked - no where on the doc did it say this, but seems to be that they have an issue with people arriving in france and having children. However, as I said I applied in the UK and was pretty sure i was their first person in a long time to apply for a long stay visa.
Also note that even though my accommodation and stay is initially in the alps - they didn't care that i didn't have any winter sports cover. the basic package covered what was needed to get the visa.
Also i got my visa in 2 days (again i think cause no one applies in Edinburgh for long stay visas - they did say it would take 4 weeks)
Also note there are lots of cheap flights and fortunately its cheaper to fly to paris than london. Again, you will be surprised the comparison sites like webjet will give you cheaper flights than going directly to the site
i am getting my sister over $1700 return in december with singapore airlines using webjet. I see Sarah has put STA travel - i find they don't really give you good prices unless you are a student as they put commission and fees on to make money. My sister is a student and checked with them and studentflights and they were looking to charge $2,200 for the same flights.
The cheapest I've ever flown over here was with Air Asia - it cost me $500, but they no longer fly to europe. It really depends on what you want or what you are willing to put up with - i.e. budget/time it takes etc. I've flown the route 8 times now and prefer to stop over to break up the journey - plus you get to visit some cool places like singapore, bangkok, KL, dubai etc
Assume you've gotten your visa now!