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Last updated : Nov 2009
Australia Social Profile
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Food & Drink

There are many specialty dishes and foods including Sydney rock oysters, tiger prawns, barramundi (freshwater fish), macadamia nuts and yabbies (small freshwater lobsters).

Beef is the most well liked meat and lamb is also of a high quality. There is a wide variety of succulent fruits and vegetables. Service is European style and varies from self service to waitress and waiter service.

Cafes, bistros, family style restaurants and ’pub’ lunches at the counter offer good food at reasonable prices. Some restaurants are BYO style, which means guests are allowed to bring their own alcohol.

Australia also offers an enormous variety of cuisines, including Italian, French, Spanish, Greek, Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, Malaysian, Japanese, Indian, Lebanese, African and Korean.

The major vineyards (wineries) are outside Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Hobart, Canberra and Adelaide. The single largest wine growing region is in the Barossa Valley, South Australia, 2 hours’ drive from Adelaide, where high quality red and white wines are produced.

Most restaurants and hotels are licensed to serve alcohol, however, private hotels and guest houses cannot be licensed by law.

Australian wine is good and inexpensive. Beer is served chilled.

Licensing hours in public bars are from 10.00 am to 10.00 pm Monday to Saturday, however most pubs are open until 12.00 pm and Sunday hours vary.

Clubs, Restaurants, and hotel lounges have more flexible hours and the legal drinking age is 18 years and over.


Special purchases
include brilliant local wines, clothing, wool, leather and sheepskin products, opal and other precious or semi precious stones, and modern art sculpture and paintings.

Exhibitions of bark paintings, boomerangs and other tribal objects are on view and for sale in Alice Springs, Darwin, and the State capitals, many depict stories from the Dreamtime.

Many towns and cities have small shops devoted to the sale of ‘Australiana’, where Australian souvenirs, ranging from T shirts to boomerangs, can be bought.

Shopping hours:

Opening hours for most stores in the cities are from Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 5.30 pm and Saturdays 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.

Late night shopping
is available Friday to 9.00 pm in Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart and Darwin. Late night shopping is available Thursday at the same times in Sydney, Canberra and Perth.

Major stores in some states are open 10.00 am to 4.00pm Sunday. Corner stores, restaurants and snack bars are open in most cities until late at night.

For further information on shopping and trading, contact the ACT Office of Fair Trading:

Telephone: (2) 6207 0400

Facsimile: (2) 6207 0538

Email address: fair.trading@act.gov.au

Website address: www.fairtrading.act.gov.au

Social Conventions

A largely informal atmosphere prevails, shaking hands is the expected greeting. Casual wear is worn everywhere except social gatherings, in the most exclusive restaurants, and important business meetings.


Smoking is forbidden in most restaurants.


Tipping is not as common as it is in Europe and America nor is a service charge added to the bill in restaurants.

10 % for food and drink waiters is usual in top quality restaurants, but is optional elsewhere. With taxis it is usual not to tip but just to round up the cost to the next dollar.