After a year of studying at the University of Queensland, I have come to the conclusion that it isn't just a place of learning. While it is Queensland's best university (take that QUT), it is also a very useful community - for everyone.
Though I've only visited the physiotherapy and dental clinics at St Lucia, there are plenty of other services available. There are veterinary clinics, psychology and therapy services, speech pathologists and more. Being staffed by students, the fees are very cheap; for example, physiotherapy is $35 an hour compared to around $80 an hour elsewhere. The students are all supervised by qualified teachers of course, but in my experience they have done a great job and I'd recommend them to anyone.
St Lucia campus alone has seven libraries. Seven. They aren't all just full of musty old law tomes either: Harry Potter? Twilight? They've got them (I know because I stumbled on them looking for Shakespeare OK). They also have books on any subject you can possibly think of. I found a pile of text books on suicidal behaviours and an encyclopaedia of erotic literature on my travels last week. Seriously, any subject you can think of. While I can't imagine everyone needing Shakespeare and weird psychology text books, students studying via correspondence and or high school students wanting to impress their teachers might want to pay a visit. Membership for non-students is steep at $200 a year, but its free to just find a library and plop yourself down at a desk with a pile of books. There are even lots of cosy spaces to get comfy in and escape the world with Harry Potter.
I won't go into detail here but there is everything from tennis courts to capoeira classes available at various campuses, most of it open to the general public for really good rates. Check out the website for more information.
You won't catch the latest Johnny Depp film at the Schonell Theatre but you can see some great art-house films, like the Rocky Horror Picture Show and amateur film competition entries. Enjoy a bite at the Pizza Cafe while you are there or maybe a drink and a cheap weekday meal at the Red Room. Impress a date for less.
There is much I haven't mentioned like the Wednesday markets, the UQ Art Gallery, cheap bookstores, the yearly book fair and prolific $2 sausage sizzles but I don't want to give all of UQ's secrets away. Mention must be made of UQ St Lucia's beautiful grounds and surrounds which are perfect for picnics, walks and bike rides or just laying on the grass and enjoying some peace and quiet.
There's something useful for everyone at UQ. For maps, parking and transport information and links to various services, head to the UQ website.