Etiquette

Australia is a pretty casual place and there are very few rules of etiquette to take into account.

  • Greetings Usually a simple 'G'day' or 'Howzitgoin?' suffices. Shake hands with men or women when meeting for the first time. Australians expect a firm handshake with eye contact. However, when visiting an Aboriginal community this can be seen as overbearing. Here, a soft clasp with little arm movement, and virtually no eye contact can be expected. The best advice is to take it as it comes and respond in like manner.
  • Mate! Be prepared to be called 'mate' by everyone, regardless of whether you know them or not.
  • Shout Australians like to take it in turn to buy ('shout') a round of drinks for the group and everyone is expected to take part.
  • BBQs Bring beer, wine or some sausages (aka 'snags') to a BBQ.
  • Alcohol Check whether alcohol rules apply when visiting an Indigenous community. You may be breaking the law even with unopened bottles in your vehicle.
  • Photography As in any country, politeness goes a long way when taking photographs; ask before taking pictures of people. Particularly bear in mind that for Indigenous Australians, photography can be highly intrusive, and photographing cultural places, practices and images, sites of significance and ceremonies may also be a sensitive matter. Always ask first.