Business trip: Sydney
Do not do this!
Australia is a proudly egalitarian society, which has several implications for visiting business travellers. First off, when establishing business relationships, humility is important, so avoid being a “show off” or “know-it-all”. Australians like to “cut down the tall poppies”, which means dismissing or downplaying standouts. Aussie egalitarianism extends into the service industries, too. For example, cabbies prefer that single riders sit up front with them. And do not be surprised if a cabbie returns a tip with a scowl — he is just letting you know that he is not there to serve you. Similarly, visitors are sometimes surprised at the relatively inattentive service at restaurants. Servers are paid the same amount no matter how many times they fill your water glass — and tipping (which is rare) does little to insure promptness.
Sydney’s restaurant scene is bursting with new, exciting and exotic choices. The country’s top restaurant Quay is a favourite for chef Peter Gilmore’s authentic Australian menu and its only-in-Sydney views of the Opera House, skyline and famous Harbour Bridge. The seasonal menus feature locally grown and raised ingredients and its wine cellar is considered one of Australia’s finest. The equally upscale Café Sydney, located on the roof of the Customs House in Circular Quay serves up flavours most associated with a harbourside setting: chilled crustaceans, oysters freshly shucked to order and grilled ocean fish. For something a little more laid back, head over to the finger wharf in Woolloomooloo for a business lunch or dinner at China Doll (Asian), Otto (Italian) or Kingsley’s (steak). The place gets packed with the shirt-and-tie lunch crowd on sunny Thursday or Friday afternoons and the fun frequently spills over into evenings.
Those seeking the perfect souvenir or gift might drop by outfitter RM Williams with three locations in Sydney. Since 1932, the store has been on the forefront of Australia’s laid back, bush-inspired style. It is best known for its handcrafted boots, moleskin jeans, hats and a full line of casual wear for men and women that you will not find anywhere else in the world. Also, check out the colourful collections of distinctive jewellery, house wares and other crafts “handmade with love in Australia” at Dinosaur Designs’ three locations.
Chris McGinnis is the business travel columnist for BBC Travel