BILL GATES may have more money than God, but sadly he does not have enough to buy a little bit of Sydney sunshine. Let alone a few days' anonymity.
The richest man in the US and the second richest man on the planet, Microsoft pioneer and philanthropist Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, along with their children, Jennifer, 15, Rory, 13, and Phoebe, 9, have arrived in Sydney for a month-long Australian holiday.
The family is renting a $25,000-a-week Vaucluse mansion on the harbour to enjoy their first Australian Christmas. They have leased the house for three months, with one month to ''bump in'' and another to ''bump out'' a collection of high-tech gadgetry and security measures rivalling those of a US president.
On Friday, Gates was attempting to avoid being photographed aboard a luxury cruiser on the harbour. He was later seen disembarking with a jacket over his head, attempting to evade recognition with little success.
On Sunday, Gates and his wife lunched at the Manly Pavilion restaurant, dining on Sydney rock oysters and a shoulder of lamb. The man Forbes magazine estimated this year to be worth $59 billion ''left a generous tip'', according to proprietor John Codling, who said ''there was no entourage, they were just like any other couple''.
The Gates family is renting luxury car importer Neville Crichton's three-level mansion named Portofino. Leonardo DiCaprio and Lachlan and Sarah Murdoch are down the road.
The $35 million Tuscan-style pile has a gym, cellar, six bedrooms and a jetty, along with what could be Australia's most impressive driveway, resembling a giant pinball shoot snaking down the steep site to a multi-car garage.