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I will be travelling to Sydney and just wanted to know about the tipping etiquette in Sydney.

I have read somewhere that the Service tax is already included in the price and there is no need to tip. Also, in countries like US (NYC specifically), bartenders/waiters are paid minimum wage and therefore there is a culture of paying tips. Is it similar in Sydney?

Is it required to tip the taxi drivers?

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You can find some general information here : flyertalk.com/forum/travelbuzz/… –  Dirty-flow Mar 7 '13 at 9:06
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What's the difference between a canoe and an Aussie? Canoes tip... –  Andrew Grimm Mar 7 '13 at 12:42
    
BTW, I assume you're talking about the Sydney in Australia, not Nova Scotia, right? –  Andrew Grimm Mar 7 '13 at 12:43
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@AndrewGrimm Good point, although some people have probably never heard of Nova Scotia, let alone know there is a Sydney there ! –  Simon Mar 7 '13 at 17:15
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Americans who tip even in Australia are silly. Australians who don't tip even in America are a*holes. –  hippietrail Dec 28 '13 at 2:46

3 Answers 3

As a rule, tipping is not necessary in Australia, wages are sufficient to make a living anyway and this shows in the eye-watering prices for any service. Most cafes and casual restaurants have tip jars, where you're welcome to reward good service with a coin or two (or, like us when eating out with our two-year-old, apologize for mess), but this is purely voluntary. Likewise, you probably would not tip your cabbie unless he eg. carries your bags for you or finds a magical way through a traffic jam when your wife is having a baby in the backseat (not that I would have stuck around waiting for change anyway...).

The only situation where tipping is kinda-sorta expected is in fancy restaurants with degustation menus, white tablecloths and sommeliers hovering by your elbow, in which case 10% is standard. The justification I've heard is that people in these places are more skilled than the grumpy uncle at the corner truck stop, yet get paid the same (union) wages, so the tips are their reward for going the extra mile.

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I upvoted not merely for a good summary, but also +1 funny. –  Andrew Grimm Mar 8 '13 at 12:01

Some Australians disapprove of tipping. They associate it with America (the most prominent English-speaking country that has tipping) and with people receiving poor wages (and other bad stuff about America, such as it being seen to lack universal health care).

The main time that people tip in Australia is when a large-ish group of people have dinner together in a non-fast-food restaurant. No-one pays less than their fair share, and people typically round up just to be on the safe side or because there aren't enough one or two dollar coins or five dollar notes, and the group doesn't expect to get change back from the restaurant. Also, while it isn't common to tip cabbies, you might round up to the nearest five dollars and let them keep the change.

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Yes I was also going to say never more than $5 for a cabbie. Our taxis are expensive enough as it is! –  hippietrail Dec 28 '13 at 2:44
    
I +1ed but I don't think your summary of that forum thread is completely accurate. I think it would be more fair to say that they disapprove of tipping cultures, such as the American one. There's no indication that they disapprove of individual people tipping. –  starsplusplus Mar 26 at 20:00

Everybody in service industries are paid well compared to the US.

So tip waitstaff and bartenders only for exceptional service or friendliness or just leave the change.

Most such places will have a tip jar that will be divided between the staff you interact with and the staff you don't - like out in the kitchen washing the dishes.

I tip people/places that made me feel good when they didn't have to and when I'm a bit cashed up and especially when I'm a regular customer.

It's never bad not to tip. We know not everybody has extra money for tipping and we know we're all paid pretty well compared to other people. Some of us will even ask you to offer your tip instead to a charity collection box we might have on the counter!

The kinds of places that would insist on tips are the kinds of places that add an equivalent charge on the bill. Don't tip at places that do this - you would be tipping twice.

A taxi driver would have to absolutely amaze me to make me want to tip. Sadly it's much more common for a taxi driver to be shoddy or even scam you a little bit, such as taking a longer route than necessary.

Personally, I like the taxi drivers who have obviously just immigrated from another country. Sometimes their English is not great but they often go out of their way as Aussie drivers seldom would, and they will get a hard time from racist Aussie passengers. It's a business where people get jaded very quickly. Only encourage the good ones.

But never tip a taxi driver who acts like they're expecting a tip, especially after hearing a North American accent. I would put this in the "scam" category.

Overall I would say the most common tipping practice in Australia would be to attractive young bartenders! They're the only ones who will really make noticeable extra income from it. And they're the ones most likely to receive tips from people who say they never tip (-:

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