Posted January 24th, 2012, 05:50 AM
The currencies are Pacific francs, vatu and pacific francs. I strongly suggest you buy no currency. When buying currency from the post office you have to buy a minimum of AUD$200 in any currency.
Noumea - You can buy tours in the cruise terminal either sightseeing or a swim/snorkel trip to Duck Island. They take Aussie dollars. A tour for the fur of you should cost less than AUD$150 total. If you are going to DUck Island for the day you might need some money to buy food/drinks, but you can exchange a small amount of currency either at the reception desk on the ship or when you arrive in Noumea at the currency exchange counter in the cruise terminal. The rates are not fantastic, but you would not need much. Otherwise take bottles of water and tell the kids to wait until they get back to the ship to eat!!!
Vila - AUD is accepted everywhere. Either go to the Mele Cascades for a swim (amazing place) or snorkelling off either Irririki Island or Hideaway Island. Costs - taxi $50-$60 to Mele cascades and return + entry $20 pp, taxi to town to go to Irririki $15 + $20pp entry to the island but this entitles you to food and drink to this value; Hideaway Is, taxi plus an entry fee. Buy duty free alcohol at Fung Kuei - prices and range available are amazing. Shop at the markets. AUD accepted everywhere. taxi back to the ship AUD$10.
Lifou - no money needed. Walk to Janek Bay and snorkel. Coral/fish are great here. There is a small market. They accept AUD.
We travelled for years with kids (three) so I know how the costs can mount up if you are not careful.