We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Vanuatu - first time and looking forward to it

Milton, Australia
Level Contributor
11 posts
7 reviews
Save Topic
Vanuatu - first time and looking forward to it

Hi Everybody, I am sorry if the following has been asked, please forgive me :0)

My husband (both 41) are going to Vanuatu and staying at the Melanesium for a week mid May. Can you give me some advice, please?

What is the weather likely to be like, we are going to take thin rain coates and a light jacket for the evening;

Can I take currency in or do I have to purchase it in Vanuatu, some countries are strange, are there a few ATMs in case I need to take some money out on my visa card;

Is it safe to walk on a night /day time when there are just us two and our cameras;

Is it better to buy duty free when there to bring back to Brisbane, we usually book ours before we leave;

Any advice at all would be wonderful and most appreciated, thankyou.

Auzzie Blue

Sydney
Level Contributor
142 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Vanuatu - first time and looking forward to it

Hi Aussie Blue,

You will have a great time. This is the best site to get honest and valuable information.

To answer your questions Ive never been in May but i think it is nice during the day and colder during the nights. Ive only been in the "Wet" season where it rains most of the time.

Its best if you just take aussie dollars in and get it changed there. There is a shop called Goodies that changes money and it usually has the best exchange rate. 7/11 is also good. Both can be found in the main street. They are near each other on opposite sides of the road. There is a few ANZ atms around the place where you can get money out but there are big fee's in doing this. You can also take traveller's cheques and get them cashed there.

I believe it is safe to walk at night. Never had a problem and its usually very quiet at night. Just use commonsense and you will be right.

Its best to buy duty free in town DO NOT buy it at Brisbane airport. It is much much cheaper to buy it in Vila. Cigarettes and alcohol is very cheap. You buy it and the shops send it to the airport for you to pick up when you leave.

Most of all just have fun. The people are very friendly, you walk down the street and they say hello. I love going there. Have a read through the posts on this site, you will learn lots of things.

Have a great trip

Emma

Brisbane
Level Contributor
101 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Vanuatu - first time and looking forward to it

Hi Auzzie Blue,

When we go we take some money with us most places now take australia dollars. At the shops you can use your visa card. You will see the prices in vatu and aussie dollars. Yes Goodies is the best place to change your money. You will need vatu on the buses.

As you come into town from the airport way on the right is a duty free shop it is the best to do your shopping and if they do not have what you want try one of the others. Do not buy duty free in australia it is much cheaper over in vanuatu. Each place will sent your duty free goods to the aiport for you to pickup on your departure Don't forget the shopes close between 1.00pm and 2.00pm each day and are not open on Sunday and if a cruise ship is in town don't go shopping as the prices go up Hope you have a great we always do when there

Milton, Australia
Level Contributor
11 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Vanuatu - first time and looking forward to it

Dear Pondy2 and Ozzy emg, thank you ever so much for responding so quickly. We have decided to take about $1000 Australian dollars and our debit and visa cards and use them in need. Seeing as we are not taking any Vatu, is there a foreign exchange booth in the airport so that we can get some local currency to pay for the taxi or the bus to Le Meridian as they don't have a picj up service (I checked a few weeks ago). Once we get ourselves in the apartment, then we'll have a wander and change our money though from what I can see from reading the other postings, is that some places take Auzzie Dollars as well as Vatu. Am I reading the situation right, I don't want to get there and starve because all I've got is Auzzie Dollars - ha ha, at least I'll have a skinnier bottom.

Cheers

Auzzie Blue

Brisbane
Level Contributor
101 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Vanuatu - first time and looking forward to it

Hi AuzzieBlue,

You can get vatu at the airport here on the way out or there is a foreign exchange at Vila airport where you can get change for a taxi. I cannot remember if the taxi will take aussie dollars or not. We were there last year in March and most will take your aussie dollars. Also cannot remember if the supermarket takes our money.

Sydney
Level Contributor
142 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Vanuatu - first time and looking forward to it

Auzzie Blue,

Change your money when you arrive in Vila at the airport. There is an exchange booth after you pick up your bags. Just change a small amount to pay for taxi. Do not change your money in Australia as the exchange rate is poor.

Hope this helps

Emma

Milton, Australia
Level Contributor
11 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Vanuatu - first time and looking forward to it

Hi there, we aren't daft with our safety but would we be best to catch a taxi (I believe it's about 1500 vatu to the Melanesium) or should we try a bus from the airport with it being our first day? We are going to use the buses when we are there as well as the taxi's as it's usually better money wise. We've been ripped off too many times in the past when we very first started travelling in Europe and are aware how much of a difference it is to catch local transport with a time table(ish) than it is to go on the guided tours. Plus, it usually gives you a better over view of the place.

Cheers

Auzzie Blue

queensland
Level Contributor
510 posts
69 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Vanuatu - first time and looking forward to it

I am assuming by the "Melanesium" you mean 'The Melanesian Resort." Personally, I would take a taxi from the airport to the resort but settle the price with the driver first! I think 1200 vatu would be a fair price but that can vary on time and day of the week factors, if it costs more and it's under $aud20.00 I think it's still cheap.The bus services are good, just stick your hand out at any van with a number plate starting with 'B" most short 5 to 15 min trips are around 100 vatu.I think Port Vila is as safe or dangerous as anywhere else in the world. Take the usual precautions and you'll be fine. I think most crime is petty and opportunistic in Vila.I only change AUD50.00 at the airport if I think I'm going to need instant cash. Goodies in town pays good rates, service is quick and simple, you wont need a passport or anything to change money.Au Bon Marche 2 supermarket...great to stock up on bottled water, bread, snacks and beer.I usually taks a bus there and a cab back to my resort.I buy duty free at "Paris Shopping" it's convenient and the prices are good. On the main drag in town almost across from goodies. Just tell them when you're leaving and give them a flight number. You purchases will be waiting for you.Try Nambawan Cafe for lunch or just a drink in the afternoon, service is "island time" but it's a good spot. The Waterfront Restaurant is very popular I have eaten there and I would say if you're not a steak or ribs lover - give it a miss. The view to Irririki at night is wonderful though!We stay at Lagoon Beach Resort, 10 mins from town and has fabulous 2 bedroom townhouses. Good "social club" atmosphere at the Nakamal in the evening.

queensland
Level Contributor
510 posts
69 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Vanuatu - first time and looking forward to it

I am assuming by the "Melanesium" you mean 'The Melanesian Resort." Personally, I would take a taxi from the airport to the resort but settle the price with the driver first! I think 1200 vatu would be a fair price but that can vary on time and day of the week factors, if it costs more and it's under $aud20.00 I think it's still cheap.The bus services are good, just stick your hand out at any van with a number plate starting with 'B" most short 5 to 15 min trips are around 100 vatu.

I think Port Vila is as safe or dangerous as anywhere else in the world. Take the usual precautions and you'll be fine. I think most crime is petty and opportunistic in Vila.

I only change AUD50.00 at the airport if I think I'm going to need instant cash. Goodies in town pays good rates, service is quick and simple, you wont need a passport or anything to change money.

Au Bon Marche 2 supermarket...great to stock up on bottled water, bread, snacks and beer.I usually taks a bus there and a cab back to my resort.

I buy duty free at "Paris Shopping" it's convenient and the prices are good. On the main drag in town almost across from goodies. Just tell them when you're leaving and give them a flight number. You purchases will be waiting for you.

Try Nambawan Cafe for lunch or just a drink in the afternoon, service is "island time" but it's a good spot.

The Waterfront Restaurant is very popular I have eaten there and I would say if you're not a steak or ribs lover - give it a miss. The view to Irririki at night is wonderful though!

We stay at Lagoon Beach Resort, 10 mins from town and has fabulous 2 bedroom townhouses. Good "social club" atmosphere at the Nakamal in the evening.

I think it's best to spend as little time at the airport as possible on your way home, The facilities are basic, no air conditioning and the cafe's relatively expensive (not as bad as bloody Brisbane though!)

queensland
Level Contributor
510 posts
69 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Vanuatu - first time and looking forward to it

Sorry about the double entry folks....dunno how that happened!

Milton, Australia
Level Contributor
11 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Vanuatu - first time and looking forward to it

Hi reboi, Yep my spelling was pretty bad, sorry about that, I was rushing to get it typed before I was disturbed again. Thank you to everybody for your help. This is going to be one awesome holiday and I can hardly wait. And I SO agree with what reboi said about BNE airport. We've travelled in and out quite a bit over the last 8 years and I've only had about one coffee in all of that time due to their overpricing.

Thanks again everybody.

Auzzie Blue.