Laurie: 10 things to do in Ipswich on a student budget

USQ student blogger, LaurieLaurie is studying a Bachelor of Creative Arts majoring in visual art and spent the first years of her degree living at USQ’s McGregor College. She is passionate about art, fashion, fitness, fun and the environment.


Having a social life and doing something exciting on a uni student budget can be challenging, no matter where you live. With study, assignments, work and family commitments to juggle, it’s important to make the most of what time you can spare for social activities. If you’re looking to make the most of your uni student budget and precious down-time, here are my top recommendations for cheap and cheerful activities to enjoy in the Ipswich region.

1. Limelight Cinemas

Whether you’re a bit like me and enjoy heading to the movies occasionally as a treat or you’re a box office regular, Limelight Cinemas is the perfect place to go for a budget-friendly price. Tickets for students are under $10, and if you can make a Tuesday session, they’re even cheaper!

Limelight also have a customer loyalty card, which offers you heaps of benefits, like access to exclusive screenings and events or deals with popcorn and drinks. Remember: this cinema is right on your doorstep and the tickets are ridiculously cheap, so ask some friends along and make the most of it!

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2. Denmark Hill Conservation Park

Ipswich is home to lots of beautiful places to visit, relax and chill out. If you’re looking for somewhere to unwind or to snap a nice nature shot to update your Instagram, Denmark Hill Conservation Park is one of the most scenic locations in Ipswich. From the top of the water tower, you can see almost all of Ipswich on the horizon! There are also several bush walking tracks, which are perfect to help you get fit and clear your mind. The best thing about Denmark Hill Conservation Park? It’s free!

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3. 116 Laneway Bar & Café

Make your way in amongst heritage-listed buildings to a trendy little bar-come-café that serves everything from a mean smashed avo to tasty cocktails and tapas. There is a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere at 116 Laneway that makes it the ideal place to relax with a couple of friends for a study session or to simply have a break from class. Stay too long and you’ll think you’re in Melbourne. Fancy or casual, this is a great place to hang out and grab a coffee or a bite for a student-budget friendly price.

Photograph of Laneway 116 cafe in Ipswich

4. Ipswich Nature Centre

If you’re a bit of an animal lover (like myself), the Ipswich Nature Centre is the best free zoo you’ll find within a reasonable distance. The Nature Centre boasts heaps of native Australian animals including bilbies, emus and wombats as well as birds and even a swan. As you walk in, you follow the boardwalk around past the animal enclosures and, if you’re up for it, you can go and pat some farm animals in the barn. When you’re a uni student cheap is good, but free is even better. This is better!

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5. Ipswich Art Gallery

The Ipswich Art Gallery may not be the first place that jumps to mind when you hear the words ‘student budget’, but it does have some really interesting exhibitions. Because getting into the Art Gallery is free, it is a perfect opportunity for uni students to experience culture and creativity without having to pay a cent. You won’t be disappointed!

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6. Ipswich Golf Driving Range & Putt Putt

I’m not usually a huge fan of golf, but going to a golf driving range with a few mates can be a really good way to relieve stress around exam time. Going out and smacking a bucket of balls as hard as you can, or seeing who can hit their ball the farthest, is a good way to give your brain a rest from study and stay active. The Ipswich Golf Driving Range also has a putt putt course, which is another cheap and fun way to pass the time when money is scarce. You can get either a bucket of balls or a round of putt putt for about $10. But the cost of socialising with your mates? Priceless.

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7. Studio 188

Studio 188 is a unique venue located in the main street of Ipswich (it’s right next to McDonalds… convenient, right?) and it hosts events such as band nights, poetry readings and everything in between. The tickets are pretty cheap, ranging from $10–$30, which is good value for money and usually includes nibbles and sometimes even a free drink. So if you are a fan of local music and a great, cultural night out without having to travel to Brisbane city, this is the place for you.

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8. Ipswich Jets Games

If you’re a rugby fan who enjoys a day out on the weekend, following Ipswich Jets is perfect for you. The Ipswich Jets are the local Queensland Rugby League (QRL) team and play in the Intrust Super Cup. This is just one grade below the NRL (National Rugby League), so it is highly competitive and a lot of fun to watch! The team plays on weekends at the North Ipswich Reserve, opposite Riverlink Shopping Centre. You can watch all this quality sporting action for less than $10!

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9. Ipswich PCYC

The Ipswich PCYC is one of the cheapest gym/fitness centres in Ipswich. The staff are kind and it’s a great place to meet new people. There are so many classes available, from aerobics to Pilates or even squash, all for a great price. The best thing is that you can pay as you go, so no more wasted gym fees. Coming in at under $10 per visit, why wouldn’t you take up the chance to get fit and socialise?

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10. Pumpyard Bar & Brewery (4 Hearts Brewing)

For affordable and tasty gourmet pub meals and award-winning, unique brews, Pumpyard Bar and Brewery is the number 1 destination in Ipswich. It’s perfect for a Sunday sesh, drinks on a Friday night or lunch on a Saturday with your pals, and is the ultimate trendy weekend destination. A plate of delicious, gourmet nibblies will set you back around $10.

Photograph of burger from Pumpyard

Life as a uni student means long hours of class, studying and living on a tight budget. While fun activities and socialising often carry price tags, they don’t have to be huge. Next time you want to get out of the house for some guaranteed entertainment in Ipswich without blowing your student budget, give one of these 10 suggestions a try.

For other great ways to stretch your uni budget just that little bit further, check out these easy money-saving tips.


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Tash: 10 things to do in Springfield

The Stingy Student Series Part 4: Have yourself some frugal fun