The Australian Dollar (AUD)
The official currency in Australia is the Australian dollar. The value of the Australian dollar goes up and down but lately it’s been sitting about on par with the US dollar.
The Australian dollar is divided into 100 cents. Our coin denominations are 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2 while our notes are in $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 denominations.
Australian notes are colour coded and may look like play money but are made of a plastic compound that is very difficult to forge. The bonus is that our notes will survive a wash or swim, so you can always keep a couple of notes in your pocket no matter where you’re going.
Although 1 and 2 cent coins are no longer in circulation, many shops will sell products at odd amounts. The law provides that the TOTAL bill is rounded up or down to the nearest 5 cents. So $19.97 becomes $19.95, $19.98 becomes $20.00.
Travellers cheques, especially in foreign currencies, are generally not accepted except by hotels and big stores and tourist shops. These display a `Travellers Cheques Welcome' sign. You can cash your cheques at a bank or Bureau de Change to ensure you have enough spending money.
You can use the handy currency converter tool on the right to work out what your money is worth in Australian dollars. Simply type in how much you want to convert, select the currency and the amount in Australian dollars will appear below.
For more detailed information visit www.xe.com
Tipping in Australia
There is not much of a tipping culture in Australia; Australian service industry workers are paid better than those in other countries and do not rely on tips for income. That being said, if you enjoy a meal with good service at a nice restaurant then wait for a couple of dollars change it would be seen as rather rude.
But then if you order a meal in a small roadside café of a restaurant in a rural town and gave a large tip you’d get some funny looks.
Generally if someone’s given you good service and you’ve spent a bit of time in the venue about 5% to 10% would be about right and appreciated by the staff. But if you don’t think the service was good there is no obligation to tip.
There’s no need to tip in a bar but if you leave the dollar or two change when you buy a round you’ll probably get served quicker in the next round. When it comes to taxi drivers and fast food deliveries it’s polite to just round up to the next dollar or note value. But there is no need to tip someone you’re not giving money to, such as a hotel concierge.