I am thinking I will download a Bitcoin client, make a note of the recieving address, copy the wallet.dat file onto a memory stick, delete the client, shred files etc, then send Bitcoins from Mtgox to this recieving address.
I am right in thinking that all coins I send to this address are recoverable when I restore the wallet.dat file from my memory stick onto a new bitcoin client?
Does the original client I download need to connect to the network in order for the address/wallet.dat to be valid and recieve payment? The reason I ask this is because I have already downloaded a Bitcoin client and I dont think it connected to the network, it showed 0 connections 0 blocks etc. I think this is because I am a student and I can only connect to the internet through my universitys proxy, and the proxy blocks bitcoin somehow.
Any input would be appreciated
The network stores the coins. They aren't actually stored in the wallet.dat. You need the wallet.dat to have control of the private keys in order to USE the coins. If you never want to use them, you never have to restore the wallet.dat file to your computer.
If you want to see the balance in your client (though this isn't necessary) you'll have to wait for the block chain to be downloaded to the block that contains your transactions.
Otherwise, what you propose works exactly like you think. However, I'd have more than one copy of the wallet.dat file.