It took me half way through my second stay to finally learn this practice. Tipping here is not done. Sure its appreciated but you come off as a tourist more than your appearance and styles.
Seriously folks. Its not needed and not done here. Minimum wage in NSW is in excess of $15 per hour and barmen and waitstaff make at least that. Use the extra money to have another pint or pay for the ever increasingly expensive hotels.
That said it is becoming increasingly common to leave up to 10% in nicer restaurants. I wouldn't do this in a pizza joint, but in a nice restaurant or where we have taken a group and required more time and effort, we do.
Tipping is not the norm in Sydney. Americans and Europeans often tip but only because they think it is the custom here. Wages are good in Australia and tipping isn't necessary. Last year, I worked in a restaurant in Sydney and only about 5 to 10% of patrons left a tip. Sydneysiders don't like to see the importation of this US custom here. If the bill comes to, say, $152.60 then that is what you pay, nothing more.
When the credit card invoices were printed a few years ago, they made provision for a tip. Many Australians objected to this as it was seen as trying to introduce an unAustralian custom here. My advice is don't tip as most Australians don't and it is not expected.
Tipping is not expected in most places in Sydney, especially after a meal. But if you feel the service was good and you would like to leave a tip, 10% is the guideline you should use.
This tipping practice also applies to taxis and the easiest way to tip them is by rounding off the amount, i.e. a fare of $23.50 I would round to $25.
In Sydney we do not have to tip after a meal. However, the general rule is 10% if you are happy with your food and service. I do often tip larger amounts if I feel the service was above standard.
The same goes with Taxi's - we do not have to tip, but the general rule is to round up...i.e. Cab ride $35.80 I would give $40.00.
Housekeeping in hotels - I just usually leave a few $2.00 -5.00 AUD.
The general rule in Australia is - don't do it! If you feel you must leave a tip, go ahead and round up but locals generally don't do much more than that. It's not like in the U.S. where wait staff rely on tips for their wages. So don't feel bad. Enjoy your meal and leave it at that.
These days, tipping is expected in most restaurants in Sydney. As a rule leave 10%, but if you really did have bad service and bad food, forget the tip.
There are still some people around who think that because waiters are often paid relatively well that a tip is not necessary, but it doesn't hurt to give a "bonus" when you have had an enjoyable experience.
It's also easier to round up the taxi fare for a taxi driver to the nearest $1.00 or add a couple of dollars extra, but if the driver gives you the run around and "pretends" he doesn't know the quickest route or gets lost - do not pay a cent more than you have to!
I also find that it is appreciated when you give the hairdresser a couple of extra dollars for a good haircut.
My tip here is don't tip. It's really not worth it as wherever you go it wont be expected. The staff who work in restaurants and hotels are well paid and tips are not part of their income. Of course if you feel better giving a tip it would'nt hurt and maybe you will receive that little bit better sevice.
Accommodation (hostel) AUD$18-$25
Loaf of bread AUD$2-$3
Postcard stamp AUD$1.20
Big Mac hamburger AUD$3
Kodak film (24 exposures) AUD$5-$6
CD (new) AUD$25-$30
Movie ticket AUD$11-$13
Daily bus/train/tram ticket AUD$5.10
Pot of local beer AUD$2-$3
Petrol (one litre) AUD$0.85-$1
Local telephone call AUD$0.40
Tipping is growing in popularity but I don't do it as a local. It encourages employers not to pay legally binding award rates and also encourages exploitation.
If someone buys you a drink in a bar or pub you are expected to reciprocate. Never ask an Australian of they are 'from Britain'.
Australians are friendly people and don't take kindly to rude or abrubt people.
The main advice I can give is smile, thank people for helping you, and treat everyone with respect.
Tipping is not required but appreciated, you can always round up the bill at a restaurant or in a taxi. E.g. $5.50 to $6.00
If I am lost I usually ask a shopkeeper who isn't busy.
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