If you’re headed to Australia, either to live or to visit, you may be wondering about tipping in Australia.
In other countries (I’m looking at you, North America!) it’s customary to tip, for just about everything! When I was growing up and used to see this on TV shows like Seinfeld (does anyone else remember George and the Calzone episode?) I was kind of bemused, but mostly confused… why did they have to tip in America? How do you know how much to tip? When there’s a jar for the tips, who gets the tips? Did people only make a living thanks to tips? It made absolutely no sense to me.
You see, in Australia, tipping is not customary and is rarely practiced. While in other countries it’s expected to show gratitude with a small amount of money, tipping in Australia is generally considered unnecessary and often even frowned upon. As a child growing up in a small town in country Western Australia, it was something I had NEVER seen in real life.
So when I saw TV shows with storylines about tipping, I actually didn’t understand it at all!
In Australia, tipping is generally seen as an insult to the staff as it implies that they did not earn a fair wage. As such, Australians typically don’t tip at restaurants, bars or taxis and instead expect good service and quality products in exchange for their payment.
In most other countries, tipping is an important part of the hospitality industry. It’s a sign of appreciation for good service and it helps to ensure that staff are adequately rewarded for their efforts. However, the same isn’t true in Australia where there are protections in place for staff.
Read on to find out more about the tipping culture in Australia. Hopefully, this will help make your trip to Australia a bit smoother and avoid any awkward tipping situations!
Do You Tip In Australia?
No, you do not need to tip in Australia. Ever. In my 35 years of life, I have never felt forced to tip anyone for anything. There are occasions where I’ll round up to the nearest note, or say “keep the change,” but these are rare, and I’ll explain why further down.
If you are ever feeling bullied into tipping, then figure out a way out of that situation and avoid at all costs. Once again, tipping is not expected in Australia under any circumstances.
As the years have passed, Australians are accustomed to the influx of tourists from America, and thus may not be offended if you thank them with a few extra coins – although they almost always express their surprise or let you know it’s not expected.
Why Don’t You Tip In Australia?
Australian employers pay their service staff a living wage so that they don’t need to rely on tips. Doing work such as being a barista, taxi driver, bartender or waiter enables you to make a wage good enough to live on.
The trade-off here is that prices for things are higher than what they are in America, but I am ok with this, since we don’t have any weird social things to figure out everytime we buy anything!
These are the reasons that you don’t need to feel bad about not tipping in Australia:
- Minimum wage is somewhere around AUD $21 per hour for hospitality workers
- People are generally paid extra on weekends and public holidays
- They are also paid extra for any hours worked after 7pm, and extra for any hours worked after midnight
- They also get a mandatory 10% put aside for their superannuation by their employers
- If they are employed full-time (as opposed to casual) they get 10 days sick leave per year and 4 weeks annual leave per year, in addition to days off for public holidays or days in lieu
- If they are employed as a casual, they get a casual loading of 25% on top of the minimum wage, so a casual bartender or housekeeping is earning close to $30 an hour (although they don’t get holiday pay or sick leave)
As you can see, the average worker is well looked after by their employers (I’m sure there are exceptions, but this is my experience) because of safeguards put in by our Federal Government. Obviously, there is outliers, but on average, people can afford to live a regular life with what they are paid in Australia.
How Much Do You Tip In Australia?
You don’t. Don’t tip. The only exception would be if you were given exceptional service, but even then, a thank you and a good review is just as valuable as a few dollars to the average small business.
Tipping Servers/Wait Staff In Australia
Tipping is not part of the culture in Australia and you will never be expected to tip your server or wait staff. The only exception would be if someone went above and beyond normal duties, like bringing food faster than usual or helping with a special request – which is rare.
In cases like this, if you really want to give your server a tip, they will accept it, but I would just ask them first, do they get to keep it, and if the answer is yes, have some cash ready to give them.
The last restaurant I worked at took all the tips and each week, would split them up between all the staff, including the chefs and dishwashers. The issue with this is that they were trying to be fair to everyone, but a dishwasher who worked 4 hours a week was getting the same amount of tip money as a waitress who put in 50 hours a week. This always rubbed me the wrong way. Anyway, this is why I recommend checking first, if there is a specific person you want that tip to go to, you want to make sure they’re the one keeping it.
Most restaurants also have tip jars next to the till when you go to pay, you can always slide a few coins in there too if you feel like the service was outstanding enough to warrant it. Again, just be aware that this money might go to pay for a staff party or some other such thing, so if you object to that, it’s ok to not tip.
Tipping Bartenders In Australia
I’m an ex-bartender with 13-odd years of bartending under my belt. I never needed to work for tips in all that time, but if someone really wanted to give me a tip, that was their choice and if they offered I would normally say, “Nah, that’s ok, save it for next time you come back,” but if they really insisted than I would accept it.
To be fair, I made more money from people dropping money in the bar on a busy night or leaving their money behind on the bar than I ever did from tips!
I would just say though, if you are in a busy bar, and it’s taking ages to get served, I would try to befriend one of the bartenders by letting them “keep the change,” if possible. This does tend to ensure they will serve you first every time you come up to the bar. Otherwise, don’t bother. It’s not expected.
Tipping Food Delivery Drivers In Australia
I like to pay cash for food delivery where possible, and I will always round up to the nearest $5, but this is absolutely not expected. You could also pay by card, in which case they take the full amount for the food and then you don’t have to feel weird about not giving the delivery driver a tip as you have already paid for the food, and trust me, they won’t care anyway!
Tipping For Takeaway Food In Australia
I’ve never done this, ever. Even if the service and food is good. Not expected or necessary.
Tipping Barista Or Server At Cafe In Australia
Less than the times I can count on one hand I’ve added a few coins into the tip jar next to the till of a cafe. Tipping is not expected here, don’t do it, unless it was really outstanding and you feel called to leave some coins behind.
Tipping Tour Guides In Australia
There is no need to tip your tour guides, ever. Once again, I’m sure it won’t be rejected, but it’s not expected. You’ve already paid the tour company the agreed-upon price, why would you offer to pay more?
Tipping Taxi Drivers/Uber Drivers In Australia
Again, I would just round up to the nearest $5, if the service has been exceptional, but this is just me. It’s definitely not expected and no one will think badly of you if you just pay the agreed price.
Tipping In Hotels In Australia
There are a few different roles within a hotel to cover, so I have listed them separately.
I have spent years working in housekeeping in a tourist area, and I have gotten tips probably less than 5 times. A couple of times we’ve been given a box of chocolates to share, and another time a lady left us a six-pack of beer with a note thanking us for looking after her, but otherwise, the only money we ever seem to get is when people leave behind a few coins, (almost like they’re just cleaning out their wallet!) or they’ve forgotten to take all their money.
As a housekeeping team, we normally save all the coins and will use them to buy one of the team a gift, say, if they’re having a baby or something.
If it is a big amount, say, over $50, we will phone them and let them know they have left it behind.
Moral of the story – if you feel called to leave your housekeeping team a tip because the service has been so good, make sure you leave a thank you note with it, otherwise, they may be confused about what it is!
On this note, if you are trying to leave a tip for when your room gets serviced, don’t bother, unless you leave a note to go with it. Housekeepers are trained to not touch other people’s possessions, so if you leave some money on the table for them without a note, it will just be there when you get back to your room.
Don’t tip, that’s what they’re paid to do.
I wouldn’t tip a porter unless the service was exceptional or you had a lot of luggage, and I would only ever give them $5 or a few coins.
I wouldn’t tip a valet unless he went above and beyond for me. At the end of the day, a valet is already really expensive, I’m not paying more than I have to, unless I felt compelled because the service was so good, and then even still it would literally only be $5 or $10.
Tipping A Hairdresser In Australia
I feel weird having this on the list, as it has never crossed my mind that you would tip a hairdresser. That’s just so odd. Don’t do this under any circumstances, if you try to tip your hairdresser, you’ll get some weird looks. If you feel really compelled to, you could always drop off a bottle of wine or box of chocolates as thanks, if the service was outstanding, but this is all I would do. Tipping them is just weird.
Tipping A Massage Therapist/Beauty Therapist In Australia
See the above, don’t do it, it’s super weird.
Tipping For Other Services In Australia
There are literally no other circumstances I would tip for anything in Australia. If I haven’t been clear enough, let me just simplify it for you:
DON’T TIP, EVER.
There, that should make it fairly straightforward for you!
How To Give A Tip In Australia
Still not listening to me and wanting to tip someone?
Depending on the circumstances you could pay in cash and just say, “keep the change,” which has always worked for me.
If it is a tour guide you’ve really appreciated, then I would get them a small gift like a box of chocolates rather than trying to give them cash, but if you MUST tip them, try putting it in an envelope and passing it to them as you leave the tour for the final time, to avoid any awkwardness.
Otherwise, you’re on your own, I’ve done all I can to stop you from tipping!
What If Someone Denies Your Tip In Australia
Well, I don’t blame them. Try not to be weird about it, just say, “are you sure? I insist,” and if they really don’t want to keep it, don’t try to make them. Just take it back. Give it to a busker or donate it to a charity. And learn your lesson for next time that it’s not necessary.
This is why I like to say, “keep the change,” as it makes it much harder for someone to refuse it if you really wanted to give them some money as thanks for exceptional service. But once again, not necessary.
Wrapping Up: Tipping In Australia
In summary, you don’t need to tip in Australia, for anything. It’s not a part of our culture, we don’t rely on it to live, it kind of makes things awkward for everyone involved, just don’t do it.
If you decide you really want to tip, I’m sure it won’t be refused, but just try to do it in the least awkward way possible.
Even Sydney International Airport has a massive sign in the Arrival area that says, “Tipping is not compulsory in Australia.”
If someone has gone to exceptional trouble for you, sometimes a thank you, and writing a review for them on social media about how the service exceeded expectations is usually better than any tip.
If someone has gone out of their way to make your experience incredible, acknowledge it in some way, but don’t feel like you’re obliged to tip. That’s the takeaway here!
Hope this helps clear up any confusion around tipping in Australia! Happy travels! 🙂
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🚑Should I buy Australian travel insurance?
100% YES! — Australia has “free” healthcare but it’s only for citizens and permanent residents. Foreigners visiting need travel insurance in case anything happens on their visit. I like SafetyWing – their Nomad Insurance starts at just $1.50 USD a day!
🚗Should I rent a car in Australia?
Yes — Renting a car is a necessity in most of Australia! If you want to go on road trips or adventures outside of the major cities, and even if you’re staying in a major city, you’ll want to rent a car. If you are visiting Margaret River, it will be even more important that you hire a car, you’ll need it to be able to get around and see all the great attractions and wineries!
🏨What’s the best way to book my Australian accommodation?
My go-to for Australian hotels is Booking.com. Pretty much all registered accommodation use Booking.com (but not necessarily any of the other major booking platforms), and even most of the holiday homes and caravan parks use Booking.com too!
If you’re planning a trip to Australia where you will stay at multiple locations, it’s super handy to have all your accommodation listed in one place, and accommodation owners like Booking.com because it’s easy to contact the guests using the messaging platform if the guest has an international phone number.
I sincerely hope you enjoy your visit to Margaret River!