Lifestyle & Culture

How to Have Fun on a Uni Budget

As uni students, we understand budgeting more than most. Emily Dunn has a few fun activities for you to do in Newcastle that won’t break the bank.

It is universal knowledge that being in university takes a huge chunk out of our wallets. We also know that, for most of us, the time that we don’t spend studying is spent making friends and spending time with them. Sadly, going out and making plans also costs money, so I am here to tell you 10 exciting things to discover under $25.


Cost: $0

Newcastle is renowned for our tonnes of beautiful beaches, which are some of the best in the world, but unless you are a local Novocastrian, you may not know where exactly to go;

  • If you prefer easy access via public transport then Newcastle beach is for you. Just a short walk from the final tram stop, this beach is the easiest to get to and from, especially if you don’t have your own transport. It is located right next to the beautiful ocean baths and rock pools.
  • For those of you with adventure as your middle name then you should check out Nobby’s Beach and Bar Beach. Both are beautiful on their own and come with some cool landmarks. Nobby’s Beach is home to the lighthouse, which I encourage you to take the walk to. And Bar Beach is right on the end of the ANZAC walk, another scene I highly recommend that you see at least once.
  • Finally, if you value the opinions of other travelers and locals, go check out Merewether Beach. The highest-rated beach in Newcastle is also equipped with its own ocean bathes.

Strike Charlestown

Cost:  $20 for 18 holes, $24 for 2 rounds, $22 for 2 games.

Strike Bowling at Charlestown has recently merged its building with Holey Moley. Bowling, Lazer Tag, and Mini Golf all in one building, each priced $20 – $25 for an hour, make it the go-to stop for an amazing night out with friends.

Blackbutt Nature Reserve

Cost: $0

Located between Kotara and New Lambton, Blackbutt Nature Reserve is one of the coolest things located in Newcastle. It is a nature reserve full of all kinds of animals and animal exhibits, completely free of charge.

Catch a Newcastle Knights Game

Cost: $25 for a general admission concession ticket.

Going to watch the Knight play at McDonald Jones Stadium is one of my favourite past times. If you’re a local supporter, your favourite team is coming to town or you even just love an enthusiastic atmosphere, you can purchase tickets online at Ticketmaster.

Heddon Greta Drive-In

Cost: $30 per movie per car.

If you are a movie lover but sick of going to the cinema, the drive-in theatre at Heddon Greta is the perfect experience for you to partake in. Although it is located about a 45-minute drive from the university and it is only open on Friday and Saturday, if you pile some friends together, hop in your car and watch a few movies on the weekend, it will be a worthwhile experience.

Fort Scratchley

Cost: $0 OR $13 for a guided tour.

History buffs will love Fort Scratchley. Established in 1882 and filled with historical tunnels, you can visit the landmark for free any day. You can also purchase guided tours of the tunnels. You should also make your way there for 1 pm when the guns fire.

Honorable Mentions

Try geocaching! Download the app on your phone and head out with some mates to try and find these hidden gems.

Catch some live music! If you head out into Newcastle and walk past a couple of pubs I am sure you will encounter some band playing in the courtyard that you can enjoy and grab some dinner too.

Try and find the ‘Fairy Garden’ located somewhere in Broadmeadow.

Drive out to Swansea and check out Caves Beach, a beautiful natural landmark.


So if you’re sick of sitting at home because you don’t have the money to go out with your mates, keep this article in your pocket to use. These are just my personal favourite things to do, are there any that you enjoy that I missed?

Featured Image: by KoolShooters from Pexels

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