I would say that the golden growth would be diatoms, they are normal and should disappear in a few weeks.
The air pockets sound like nitrogen bubbles, it means that the bacteria is doing its job.
Your tank is not good for life until it cycles, also the shipping can have its toll on the live rock, so anything on the rock may or may not survive.
The rock that looks like problems waiting to happen very well could be. Hitchhikers can be good or bad depending on what they are.
You can find deals online for live rock, the downfall is you don't get to pick your pieces. You could try to find some dry reef safe rock it will take a little longer to cycle but is alot cheaper. Also it doesn't have any hitchhikers good or bad. You may be able to find it at your lfs
, Although that won't save you the drive.
I have not purchased live rock online so I can't really recommend any site in particular.