Tips For Getting The Best Currency Exchange Rate

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While these guidelines are written specifically for NZ and Australian tourists, the same principles apply to anyone.

TLDR: If you exchange currency at your departure airport (for example, Melbourne, Christchurch, Auckland) then you are getting a terrible exchange rate. Wait until you are at Nadi airport to get a MUCH better rate. If you can manage to visit one of the Forex exchanges in Nadi or Namaka (which is on the way to Denarau or Coral Coast), you will do even better.

Want to use an ATM rather than exchange currency?

As you exit customs, the Westpac bank is on your left, and there are Westpac ATMs there.

If you bank with ANZ, or indeed any other bank, then keep walking into the main arrivals concourse, where the exit and transfer drivers are. You will see the information booth there, with ATMs directly behind that.

When you book an airport transfer with PVV, then they will take you to the currency exchange booth in Nadi or Namaka that is offering the best rate. There is no additional cost for this service.

A Forex Currency exchange booth in Nadi main street
A Forex Currency exchange booth in Nadi main street

Scenario: I am at Melbourne airport, and I have AU$700 in my wallet and want to convert that to FJ$. If I check the exchange rate, then today (June 2019) the rate shows fj$1044. We are never going to get that, but we want to get as close as we can. Please note that the rate will fluctuate, so you may see a higher or lower one when you check.

Travelex (Melbourne)

A Forex Currency exchange booth in Nadi main street

There are only a few options for converting currency at Melbourne airport. You can either use the automatic currency exchange machines or Travelex. Both have equally bad rates.

AU$700 at Travelex buys you fj$860. Remember, we want to get as close to the daily exchange rate which on the 11th June 2019, was fj$1044. So Travelex is definitely out, unless you want to throw away money. Wait until you get to Nadi.

Travelex is not just in Melbourne. It is at the other Australian and NZ international airports. And they all give the same dismal exchange rates.

Westpac (Nadi Airport)

Westpac branch at Nadi airport

There is a currency exchange before you pass through the final part of customs, but it's better to wait until you get out into the arrivals concourse.

As you exit into the arrivals area, look to your left and you will see the Westpac bank and currency exchange.

AU$700 at Westpac buys you FJ$965. That is $105 more than if I had of made the exchange at Melbourne airport. But this isn’t actually the best rate, so don’t rush to change your money just yet.

Forex (Nadi Airport)

A Forex Currency exchange booth at Nadi airport

If you continue walking up the arrivals concourse, past the main exit, you will find the Forex exchange booth. Same side of the building as the Westpac, and only 50 meters or so away.

AU$700 at Forex buys you FJ$973. A little better than Westpac. But not as good as you will get in Nadi. if you can manage to get into the main street of Nadi town, you are going to get close to an extra FJ$50.

Remember, I am only changing AU$700, so if you have more than that, it’s probably going to be worth the effort to go into Nadi to change your money.

Changing Money In Nadi Town

I won’t go over all the names and locations of the currency exchange booths on or around the main street. There are plenty of them (at least six that I know of) and they all offered rates above FJ$1000 for AU$700.

The lowest rate that I found was at No1 Currency, which offered FJ$1003. The Western Union and Forex booths all offered around FJ$1020, with the highest being FJ$1023.

So change money at Melbourne (or any other AUST/NZ departure point) and get FJ$860, or change in Nadi town and get FJ$1020? It’s really no contest! An extra FJ$160 simply by shopping around and not changing in the first place you come to.

While that might not be a huge amount, it’s still worth having. And if I had of been carrying AU$2000 then I would have lost FJ$460ish by changing my money at Travelex.

Two Final Tips: Unless money really means nothing to you, then never ask to exchange money at your resort. They will make Travelex seem generous.

And try not to change money back to your own currency after you go through customs on the way home. There is only one exchange booth in the departure lounge, and they do not give a good rate.

There are plenty of exchange boothes in Nadi main street
There are plenty of exchange boothes in Nadi main street

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