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10 things to do in Toowoomba on a student budget

By Emma 10 Apr 2019
People eating at Ground Up cafe in alley filled with mural art.


Being a student costs money. You have to pay for textbooks, fuel and other financial responsibilities that cause a direct hit to your savings and leave you wondering if checking your bank balance is worse than checking your assignment grades.

To make sure you can still enjoy a social life on a student budget, we’ve found an array of things to do that that won’t break your bank.

The following suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the things you can do around the region, but here are 10 things to do in Toowoomba while maintaining a student budget.

1. Latte anyone?

I love going for coffee with friends! Toowoomba has really come into its own in the coffee culture scene, with laneway vibes and delicious coffee varieties. Some of my favourite places to go include: Ground Up Espresso Bar, Aroma’s, The Finch, The Chocolate Cottage and The Firefly Café. (Tip: to save funds and calories, avoid the sweets cabinet because you know once you see that delicious slice of cake, you won’t be able to resist).

Image of cup of coffee.

2. Foodie central

The launch of the Walton Stores (with places like Hello Harry’s and Junk) and Skewers, has meant that Toowoomba is even more spoiled for choice when it comes to food. A great idea is to plan monthly social get-togethers with your uni friends, where you rotate through all these tasty places to eat while making some great memories and building your uni friendships.

Image of burgers.

3. Getting active

There are plenty of opportunities to get active on a student budget in the Toowoomba region. The Toowoomba Region Council offers a variety of cheap and free community activities to help people get active in the region, including fitness bootcamps, running classes and yoga, just to name a few. Check out their website for the complete list of activities. To add some variety into your fitness routine, why not give the Driving Range a go to release some assessment stress, or jump for joy when you finish that last exam at the trampoline park Kloud9ine.

4. Music scene

There is a vibrant music scene in Toowoomba with the Spotted Cow, Ground Up Espresso Bar, and Bon Amici’s (which hosts weekly open mic nights) all featuring local artists. To find out more about upcoming local music performances, head to the Toowoomba Gigs Facebook page. Toowoomba’s local collection of musicians and bands offer a diverse variety of musical genres, with something for everyone.

5. Markets galore

Markets are a great chance to catch up with friends, indulge in tasty treats and buy unique gifts, and the best part is… you can spend as much or as little as your student budget will allow. Friday Nights Bites, Toowoomba Farmers Markets, Margaret Street Markets, PCYC Markets and the Queens Park Market, are just a few of the markets you should make it to for delicious food and a great atmosphere. If you’re heading to a market, these are great tips to help you make the most of the experience.

6. A day at the zoo

If you’re an animal lover and willing to make the trip about 40 minutes south of Toowoomba, the Darling Downs Zoo is for you! With great student admission prices, you can visit the crocodiles, macaws, monkeys, baboons, lions and so much more!

7. Fresh air

If you feel like getting some fresh air and mixing up your surroundings, why not head to Lake Cooby and Cressbrook for a picnic and a chance for water activities. If you’re up for exploring a little further away from Toowoomba, the Crows Nest Falls is definitely worth the drive for walking trails and picturesque views. Closer to home, a hike up Table Top is but a rite of passage for anyone moving to Toowoomba.

Image of Crows Nest Falls, Toowoomba.

8. Artistic landscape

Every year, the city gets a fresh coat of paint with the First Coat Art Festival. Take the time to wander the streets admiring the scale of this outdoor gallery, and the life that these works of art inject into the Toowoomba area. There are also regular exhibitions at the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery, featuring local and nationally recognised artists, and the best part is that admission is free! If you get a chance, I also highly recommend checking out USQ Artsworx events. From the annual Shakespeare performances (a personal favourite), to art exhibitions and theatre performances featuring work from USQ students, this budget-friendly option will provide you with a great study break!

9. History and literature

If you’re a bit of a history buff, you need to check out the Toowoomba Cobb and Co Museum which hosts regular exhibitions, events and activities with something to spark everybody’s interest. If you’d like a new study spot, or just a place to relax with a good book, head to one of the many libraries in the region.

10. Walk in the park

Toowoomba isn’t called the Garden City for nothing. Especially around Carnival of Flowers time in September, the city comes alive with greenery and flowers of the brightest colours. Why not grab some friends for a picnic in the park, or take your study materials outside to enjoy the beautiful backdrop. Stop and smell the flowers in Queen’s Park, Laurel Bank Park, the Japanese Gardens, Picnic Point and so many other garden oases found throughout the region. The best thing about these parks… they are free to enjoy!

Image of the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers.

From outdoor activities to great places to go for food, coffee and culture, these 10 cheap things to do in Toowoomba are perfect for uni students on a budget.

If you’re trying to save some funds for a celebratory holiday after you submit your assignments, or just to afford going to the movies on days other than Tuesday, here’s your guide on how to save, plan ahead and stay positive about your budget!

Author profile of Emma