Uni Life

How to eat your way around UON

Sarah James gives us the lowdown on where to eat on campus.

You’re sitting in that dreaded lunch time lecture. The cravings kick in. You made the trade-off between getting a car park and packing lunch, and are now facing the consequences.

If you’re like me, you will soon know the pain of spending the majority of the morning thinking about what to have for lunch, and the latter part of the day wondering if you made the right choice. It will definitely take more than 80 days to eat your way around UON (ok maybe not – but who can afford to buy lunch everyday?) To avoid some serious food FOMO, be sure to check out some of the best eateries on campus.

Best Value for Money

It doesn’t take long to hear about the Uni Bakehouse. Undoubtedly loved by all, it’s legend is almost enough to brave the walk from Hunter to Shortland – and trust me, it more than lives up to the hype. Most days you’ll find the line out the door. The reason for its unwavering popularity is due to it being one of the cheapest places to grab lunch or a snack on Callaghan Campus. To get a pie, cake and drink it only costs $7.50 – an offer which is pretty much unbeatable.


Best Vibe

If you’re over on Hunter side, Bar on the Hill is the obvious choice. While better known for hosting some of best parties and gigs of the year (Toga Party is right around the corner!), it offers a wide range of delicious lunch options at an affordable price. My recommendation: there is no such thing as too much gravy. It’s also a great place to grab a drink with friends after an exam. The key word there is ‘drink’ – not ‘drinks’ – if I’ve learnt anything from my time at UON, treating a normal Tuesday afternoon like its O Party isn’t a great idea.

On Shortland side, Mamadukes Cafe is open from the early morning to late afternoon. With its comfy lounges, it is a prime spot to get a coffee while going over those last minute lecture readings, or make a start on that group assignment. A variety of sandwiches and wraps are on offer for those looking for something simple. If you don’t mind the wait and your wallet can handle it, Mamadukes makes a number of meals fresh to order, such as salt and pepper squid, deluxe burgers and gourmet salads.

Best Taste (aka an ode to Godfrey Tanner Bar)

If you were raised by pop culture and TV sitcoms like myself, I’ll assume you have a secret, (or not so secret), dream of finding a café/bar haunt to catch up with your close friends (think The Central Perk from Friends, or MacLaren’s in How I Met Your Mother). It’s the glue to any worthwhile friendship. I cannot stress this to you enough – Godfrey Tanner Bar is that haunt. While I don’t want to risk overcrowding my favourite place on campus, it would be an injustice not to mention the stereotypical college location that is GT bar. With leather seated booths inside and seating on the balcony overlooking the bushland, GT Bar is the obvious place to spend your breaks between classes. It is also home to the best tasting food on campus, with burgers, pizzas and toasties for under $10, plus help yourself mustard (dream). If you weren’t already sold, there’s a couple of pool tables available to make or break your new uni friendships over. All that’s missing from your TV sitcom dream is a T-Swift level squad.

Most Healthy

Alas, if you’re feeling particularly health conscious, your best bet would be to head over to the Brennan Room where there is a mix of sandwiches, salads and pastas on offer. Plus, on those particularly chilly days when you’re after a hot lunch, there’s roast lamb and vegetables available. And of course who can forget about trusty Subway – tasty, simple, self-explanatory really.

So there you have it, a basic guide to the best places to get lunch on campus. I hope my awful habit of buying lunch way too often has benefited you in some way. If there’s one thing to take away from this, UON offers a food addict like myself way too many options – and Shortland side is by far superior to Hunter in regards to this.

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