Le Meridien reception
Things you need to know before you go

A photographic journey

Wedding Guest Information

Itinerary highlights

Places to eat

Getting around
& map

Things you need to know before you go.

Thanks to our helpful and efficient travel consultant Anne, we all have our accommodation and flights sorted beautifully. If you are still working on that part then we wish you all success in securing the deal that's right for you.

Money exchange.
If you do not have transfers to your hotel or resort you will need to catch a bus or taxi there and for this you would require a little local cash. The currency is vatu and works out to about $1.20 to 100vatu or in reverse about 83 vatu to the dollar. The Brisbane airport does not give a very good rate so if you exchange there make it the absolute minimum.

The resorts will exchange your money and their rate is a little better but the best place to go is Goodies near the El Gecko cafe downtown. See the map for directions. On Sunday there is a 7/11 across the road that also gives good rates of exchange.

There are only 2 banks you'll be familiar with in Port Vila. They are the ANZ and the Westpac. You may not be able to get cash from a minor bank or building society so be prepared with plenty of cash if you don't bank with one of the above.

They do have 24hr ATMs at the bank but as before, building societies and minor banks may not be linked.

Bring some antibacterial cream and bandaids as these can be expensive here. If you get a tiny weeny scratch that you can barely see. Put the cream on it immediately. This is the tropics and you must do this.

Add one hour to Brisbane time and allow some for what is known as Island time which means that nobody is in hurry. It is not unusual to wait 30mins or more for a shop assistant to find you a cardboard box to pack your duty free treasure in so be patient and allow plenty of time.

Port Vila enjoys a daily siesta. This means that the shops are closed in the middle of the day.

High heels will last about two milliseconds so consider this.
For swimming you will need a pair of reef shoes. You can buy these at Anaconda or target in Australia and in Port Vila there are a number of shops that sell them. Remember that you might be busting to get into the water so perhaps being prepared ahead of time is a good thing.

Bring a mask and snorkel. They are expensive to hire and come in two sorts:- crappy ones that don't fit and even crappier ones that don't fit. The cost of hiring them once is about as much as you'll pay for a cheap set in Australia. Don't be thinking that you won't need a mask because you can forget all your ideas of snorkelling that you may have done in this country. Nothing here compares to the underwater world you can wade into from some of the beaches in Vanuatu. Fins are also a good idea. I went without mine once and regretted it. So now I take dive boots, reef shoes, fins, snorkel and mask.

Duty Free.
Fung Kuey is the best priced duty free shop for alcohol. There are also good fake designer shops around and some dodgy fake designer shops. These things you'll discover for yourself. You can buy Tusker beer direct from the brewery and you can buy Vanuatu organic beef in packs to bring home as long as you arrange it in advance. The Centrepoint supermarket downtown can help with this.

The locals are modest and it is inappropriate to go to town in brief clothes. Around the resort togs and shorts are always the go. When the cruise ship comes in the locals tend to keep a low profile as they are invaded by loud tourists. So to enjoy the usual friendliness go to town when the cruise ship is not in port.

Wine and Beer.
You can purchase this from the Au Bon Marche supermarket downtown and at Nambatu but not between 12 noon on Saturday and Monday morning. Water, however is cheaper from the supermarket than the resorts and can be purchased at any time. Local water is quite safe to drink but does have a high mineral content that can give you a belly ache until you get used to it.

| Things you need to know |A photographic journey |Wedding Guest Information | Itinerary highlights |Eat | Getting around | Blog | Home |