Freelance writer and blogger from Brisbane. Follow my social media, photography, technology and food blogs at www.acarrick.com
Published October 30th 2021
My favourite places to study with views and easy access
Harmony Park in the suburb of Dutton Park
In Dutton Park on Brisbane's South-East lies Harmony Park, a hilly recreation reserve against one end of the Eleanor-Schonell Bridge to the University of Queensland. There are two car parks and a playground too. My favourite spot to study or write is the picnic table with a barbecue near the top car park. Actually, that's about the only picnic table but regardless, it's a lovely park even to sit under the trees and draw if you like. At the very top of the park, near the main road, there is another table (no barbecue) and a lookout over the park towards UQ. You can even see some of the taller buildings too. When you need a break from writing or studying, there are some nice short trails around and at the bottom of the park, there is a fishing pontoon on the river (near the bottom car-park).
The State Library of Queensland is likely one the more popular spots to study amongst non-university students when I've been there on the weekends (or uni students sick of their own campus!) I normally go to Level 2 or 3 and take up a desk by the river, but there are plenty of desks inside too (I also recently discovered the Quiet Study area on Level 4 as well, it's much larger and fancy). It's totally free and you don't need to be a member to just read or study. I enjoy also taking a look at the new books on display when I need a break or about to finish. At the South Bank Cultural Precinct, there are a few cafes nearby - SLQ Shop and Cafe but it closes around 3pm on weekends since the pandemic, and Cafe Muse at the Qld Museum, which is open now (as I write this on Queen's Birthday Public Holiday.) Currently, I'm sitting at Cafe Muse writing this, so you don't have to be stuck inside the library all day. Though it's quieter inside the library.
If South Bank is too far, all Brisbane City Council libraries have free Wi-Fi and are accessible by public transport. Brisbane City Council are doing a good job making their libraries more accessible with longer opening hours too. Several are even inside shopping centres - such as Indooroopilly, Toowong, and Carindale Libraries.
Inner and Southern Brisbane has some nice universities libraries to study at (to be expected), QUT Gardens Point in the city was a nice favourite of mine while I was a student if I felt like a change from UQ. Gardens Point is nice since it is accessible by ferry and close to the City Botanic Gardens, allowing for a nice nature break within easy walking distance. UQ libraries at St Lucia campus are also nice and with plenty of cafes nearby too. There are some interesting museums and galleries at both universities you can enjoy while taking a break from your study or writing. Unless you are a student or researcher with access to EduRoam the Wi-Fi may be limited to around 30 minutes and or limited in usage. And of course they will close to the general public around 5pm.
Some of the newer Starbucks are actually embracing student use with the new Starbucks in Edward Street having a dedicated desk with power points straight in the middle of the cafe.
Westfield Shopping Centres are also starting to expand beyond just being a shopping centre with public power points available in rest areas and various nooks in vacant corners. I wouldn't recommend bringing your laptop specifically for studying in a shopping centre, but if you needed to get a bit of work in before hanging out with friends, it'd be handy enough. And pretty convenient to cafes and facilities of course.
A friend suggested booking an Airbnb or other holiday apartment by the ocean together with friends, then you can study and look at the ocean and it's not too much per night if you share the cost. You'd have a holiday too! Pretend it's like an author's retreat. One of my work colleagues is actually planning on taking a working holiday to the Sunshine Coast and working from there. Now that we are all used to working remotely, it's much more feasible.