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Exchange AUD for VATU

Sydney, Australia
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12 posts
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Exchange AUD for VATU

Hi,

We are visiting Santo in a couple of weeks and wondered what is the best way of obtaining VATU in Luganville. Is it best to use the ATM (we have a westpac account in Oz) or bring Aussie dollars and exchange them. We will transit via Port Villa but won't clear customs and probably won't have time to buy currency there.

Cheers

Mark

24 replies to this topic
Australia
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for Port Vila, Vanuatu
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2,422 posts
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1. Re: Exchange AUD for VATU

Hi Mark

You can exchange your AUD at the airport on arrival in PV while you wait for your luggage to come off the plane...there is a counter right next to the carousel and a duty free counter. There are also other options for cash exchange in the arrivals area along with desks to a buy local sim card etc. The domestic airport is a 50m walk in the building next door so you should have time before getting on Santo flight (unless you are staying on the same plane?).

Its always best to bring cash to change to vatu but if you run out just withdraw from the ATM in Luganville.

cheers

Edited: 01 June 2013, 09:20
Laurieton, Australia
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2. Re: Exchange AUD for VATU

Hi there,

I purchased some Vatu dollars this week from the CBA. Westpac & Nab don't supply anymore.

Westpac have branches in various South Pacific Islands but not sure on a good exchange rate if you change money over whilst in Santo? I always keep some cash on me for this reason . BUT we travel in August/Sept and finding the cost of food/drinks etc to ensure we have enough spending is what I'm finding difficult...

Sydney, Australia
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1,441 posts
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3. Re: Exchange AUD for VATU

Last question first, cost of food drink. Base your calculations on what it costs in Australia. We were in Luganville 2 weeks ago and had a "cafe style" lunch at the bakery cafe. I had a chicken and mustard sandwich and it was about 800 Vatu - say A$8.80 at current rates. Beers were 350 V and soft a little cheaper but not much. My recollection lunch for 2 with a drink each was around 2500 V. Dinner at the Ocean King chinese (great food too) was 7200 with wine.

I recall - hopefully correctly - there were an ANZ and a Westpac in the main street of Luganville and expect you'd be able to withdraw via a credit card. Remember while they are familiar Aussie names they see themselves as non-Aussie businesses so regular ATM cards linked to savings type accounts don't work, only credit.

If there is a National Bank of Vanuatu in the main street I expect they'd do conversions. Here's there daily exchange page www.nbv.vu/currency-exchange-rates.html but be warned they give a 2-3 Vatu poorer rate at the airport in Port Vila. I discovered this recently when I went to change a large amount on arrival, having checked the rate via my smartphone prior to leaving Sydney and found instead of 92 it was 89.

My overwhelming recommendation is take Aussie cash and change it at a bank or some of the business that change them in Luganville. Don't buy Vatu in Australia as you'll get gouged especially by Travellex at the airports. I saw a post not so long back naming places to change cash in Luganville, and I recommend you try to find it. Most importantly be aware of the rates offered by the NBV and Goodies http://goodiesforex.com/exchange-rates/ so you know what the benchmarks are when you exchange,

Most of all have a great time,

Cheerz Wabster.

Australia
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for Port Vila, Vanuatu
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4. Re: Exchange AUD for VATU

As Wabster says....Don't buy vatu in Australia or you will lose about 20% instantly! Take AUD and change it there and you will be much better off. There are plenty of places to change AUD all of which give a much much better rate than a bank in Australia.

You can eat cheaply (at take aways, markets etc) or much better at restaurants or resorts. The food prices are similar to Australia. For tours the same applies, some activities are 3000vt and some 9000vt so it depends on what you plan to do.

Have fun

Edited: 02 June 2013, 02:04
Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: Exchange AUD for VATU

Thanks for the replies folks. So it sounds like exchanging cash in Luganville shops or banks is probably the way to go. Hopefully we can find somewhere on a Sunday arvo when we arrive as we are staying at the Northern end of the island. I got an email from Westpac saying the ATM fee is 490vt per transaction so we can always get cash out from there if nothing else is open (assuming its working)

Cheers

Mark

Adelaide
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1,325 posts
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6. Re: Exchange AUD for VATU

The Unity Petrol Station had a decent exchange rate when we were there in March. It's in the main street, everyone knows where so just ask. We also stayed at the northern end at Port Olry, and transport back and forth is fairly costly, so we made sure we exchanged as much as possible while we were in Luganville. Where are you staying? Port Olry is a bit of a passion for me :)

Cheers, Barbara

Sydney, Australia
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7. Re: Exchange AUD for VATU

Thanks Barbara. We are staying at Oyster Island for the first few nights and then closer to town at Moyyan. Hopefully the Unity petrol station wlll be open when we arrive on Sunday afternoon.

Sounds like a trip up to Port Olry is worthwhile then?

Cheers

Mark

Sydney, Australia
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1,441 posts
40 reviews
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8. Re: Exchange AUD for VATU

Port Olry is listed in the National Bank of Vanuatu as having a branch there. I've no idea where it might be or whether they change money, maybe Barbara can help with that.

Port Olry is most certainly worth a visit, the beach there in front of the restaurant is one of the best I've seen in Vanuatu. We were kinda "swimmed out" so didn't actually go for a swim, but some people were swimming there and really enjoying it.

I noticed some bungalows adjacent to the restaurant and reckon they'd be a top spot to spend a bit of time.

Cheerz Wabster.

Sussex Inlet...
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6 posts
29 reviews
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9. Re: Exchange AUD for VATU

The LCM supermarket in the main street was where we used to exchange our AUD, they offered a better deal than the NAB bank who also mucked us around wanting ID etc. They were open most of the time and best part is you can grab all your supplies at the same time (they sell alcohol also also but not on Sundays).

Hobart, Australia
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10. Re: Exchange AUD for VATU

What's the best way to bring AUD in to Vanuatu then? Just afraid I'll get robbed if I bring all my money into vanuatu in cash.

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