Hooray! The weekend is finally here. Shopping, eating out and weekend adventures await! There’s just one tiny problem, and that’s the amount of cash available to support said activities. Not to worry – from exploring Australia’s flora and fauna to relaxing on the beach we’ve found 25 activities to fill your weekend on a student budget. Get going.
1. History meets art at the Museum of Brisbane
Smack bang in the heart of Brisbane City you’ll find the Museum of Brisbane – home to the 100% Brisbane exhibition. You can explore the exhibitions yourself or enjoy the free museum tours and events. Take the elevator up to the viewing platform for a stellar view over the city.
2. Picnic in the city
Take advantage of Brisbane’s 283 days of sunshine and head outside for a cheap date with friends. The city’s overflowing with parks where you can set up your picnic rug and cheeses (that’s plural for a reason). We’d suggest Roma Street Parklands or Brisbane City Botanic Gardens.
3. Brisbane by bike
Jump on a City Cycle (or for our residents – a free Student One bike) and see the inner-city suburbs by bike. There’s a great loop from Brisbane City over to South Bank and around to Kangaroo Point that’ll give you a few hours of exercise and enjoyment discovering the city’s riverside suburbs. A student membership is $3 a month, which gives you journeys of less than 30 minutes a pop. Check out all costs here.
4. Head to the pictures
Does anyone call it that any more? Just $25 will get you into a movie and shout you popcorn and frozen drinks too. So, what will it be – action or comedy? Check out Cineplex at South Bank for cheap tickets.
5. Go bush(walking)
About 20 minutes west of Brisbane there’s a great bush walking track at The Gap. The reservoir there has a loop around it that will take about an hour to complete. Take some snacks and a guitar to chill by the dam afterward.
6. Get competitive at iPlay
Need we say more? iPlay is the city’s “Time Zone” where you can play one- or two-player games such as Dance Revolution and other classic arcade games. Open until midnight Saturday and Sunday, you may just want to spend your whole weekend there. Drop by the Baskin-Robbins on the way in for the sugar hit you need to conquer it all.
7. Schedule an ice-cream date
Speaking of ice-cream, you could just spend your weekend hopping between the best ice-cream shops in the city and South Bank. Check out Gelatissimo, Gelato Messina, Nitrogenie, San Churro and, of course, the decadent Baskin-Robbins.
8. Get cultured at Gallery of Modern Art
Walk slowly through the exhibitions on offer at Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art at South Bank. Entry is generally free but there is student pricing for the paid exhibitions.
9. Sunday sessions at South Bank
River Quay on a Sunday is absolutely glorious. There’s often City Sounds bands set up and the sunset by the river is just perfect. Take a picnic and settle in for the afternoon.
10. Stuff your face at Eat Street
Twenty-five bucks may not seem like much but if you take a mate and go one-for-one on share plates, you’ll will be sufficiently ill in no time. Just kidding – sporting every cuisine known to man, Eat Street vendors hand out the best entrees, mains and desserts for your afternoon grazing session. Go early to avoid lines.
11. Check out the bay
Head out to Brisbane’s bayside for the very best fish and chips in town, ice-creams, seaside breeze and all round good times. Shorncliffe Pier is a must and it’s also where you can snap that iconic selfie.
12. Op shopping in Zillmere
If you’re low on cash, generally shopping is a no-go. But that’s when op shops look a little more appealing. Just across from Zillmere station is a block literally packed with op shops with clothes for less than $5 a piece. Spend a few hours on Saturday morning flicking through the racks to find some hidden treasures.
13. Discover Brisbane’s best cheap eats
You’ve still got to eat, right? Leave those 2-minute Noodles at home and check out Brisbane’s best cheap eats. You’ll easily find a restaurant nearby where you can grab a main meal for under $15.
14. Hit the books
Don’t moan. Weekends are a time (if you’re not still studying) when you can actually read for leisure. Brisbane Square Library and State Library of Queensland at South Bank are a weekend refuge with reading nooks and quiet spaces. Take your own book or get a library card and start filling your head with non-uni stuff!
15. Learn something new at QUT The Cube
The Cube is a free interactive display that shows off research pieces at Queensland University of Technology’s Gardens Point campus. Check out what’s on 10am-4pm Saturdays and Sundays.
16. Discover the tropics at Brisbane Botanic Gardens
You don’t have to go trekking up to Far North Queensland to explore the state’s tropics. At the foot of Mount Coot-tha inside the Brisbane Botanic Gardens is a Tropical Display Dome that is the perfect climate to grow tropical plants. You can go inside and see the flora up close – it’s free.
17. Conquer a mountain
While you’re there you may as well climb a mountain (no cheating and driving to the top). Park up at the JC Slaughter Falls Picnic Area and take the summit track to the Mount Coot-tha Summit Lookout for glorious views of the city and surrounding suburbs. It’s about an hour round trip.
Alternatively, the Glasshouse Mountains (pictured) are about an hour north of Brisbane. Mount Ngungun is a great one for beginners.
18. Cuddle koalas
When in Rome! If you haven’t already got your hands on to one of these cuddly creatures, now’s your time. Head out to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary for your koala experience – entry will set you back exactly $24.
19. Practise your downward-facing dog
What better way to forget about uni then to head to yoga and clear your mind with breath and stretchy poses? There’s a heap of yoga studios in the city, find a class here. You’ll be feeling zen in no time.
20. Schedule a brunch date
Brisbanites take their brunching very seriously, and for that reason there are many places to do just that. The best are in the Valley, Paddington and West End but if you’re up for a sweet brunch date, check out the city’s best dessert food (which can be consumed at an hour of the day).
21. Day trip to the beach
An hour north and south of Brisbane is some of Australia’s best beaches. Find a mate with a car or catch the train to the furthest station towards the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast. Sun and sand, here we come!
22. Enjoy free live music
Kick back and relax to the sound of sweet sweet tunes from the City Sounds free music program. Each week, bands from around the world set up shop in Queen Street Mall and serenade the crowd. It’s best enjoyed with an ice-cream in hand.
23. Hit the bowling alley
Feeling active? Practise your best bowling moves at Strike Bowling in Wintergarden. One game will set you back $15 and you can grab a burger on your way out at Grill’d. There’s laser tag, too!
24. Cruise the Brisbane River
Go on a cruise, student style – AKA use your go-card to catch the ferry along the Brisbane River or take the city hopper to explore the inner-city. From West End to New Farm you’ll find beautiful parks and places to stop and admire.
25. Take a free walking tour
The Brisbane Greeters run free walking tours every day of the week so you can see the city through the eyes of a local. Jump on a history tour to learn the story behind Brisbane’s public art, many of the prolific buildings and stories about landmarks such as the Kangaroo Point Cliffs. There’s also laneway tours or you can request a custom tour based on your interests.