Aussie here. I've never seen a registry for an engagement party, although I would always take a gift to one. An engagement gift to me is a smaller/cheaper version of what you might gift at a wedding - pasta bowls, towels, etc. But maybe beach towels instead of formal guestroom towels, IYKWIM.
Engagement parties are typically shortly after the engagement - at least more than 6 months out from the wedding - and I'd say 12 months our would be a good figure. I was engaged late in January, we got married in December that year, and I think our engagement party was in early March.
We had a tennis afternoon/evening and BBQ dinner in the town we were living in, and mostly invited co-workers etc who weren't expecting invitations to the wedding in my home city, 7 hours drive away. Some family came, but not many. We requested no gifts, and I didn't even feel slightly bad at the time that I wouldn't be inviting them to the wedding. I'd probably think about that now, but I might still do it the same way.
I didn't have a bridal shower, or a kitchen tea.