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  >  Destinations   >  Australia   >  Why you should eat at a Surf Club

When out-of-town visitors ask what they should experience when they’re in Queensland there are plenty of wonderful things to suggest. But there is one thing I always recommend as a ‘must do’: having a meal at a Surf Club. It’s more Australian than throwing a shrimp on the barbie and even better, it’s not just for tourists. In fact, most Surf Club diners are locals. These venues rely on members for most of their trade so the food and service has to be good. While you won’t necessarily find anything fancy on the menu, your meal will be likely be the best burger, fish and chips or steak sandwich you’ve ever had.

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Mooloolaba Surf Club
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Enjoying the view as the sun goes down

Because Surf Clubs are devoted to keeping swimmers safe they are invariably right on the beach. This means that whenever you dine at one of their bistros you get to enjoy 5 star ocean views at a bargain price. You don’t need to be a member to eat at a Surf Club as long as your place of residence is located 15kms or more from the club. You’ll be asked to show your license or a photo ID with your address on it to prove where you live. After that you can sign the visitor’s book and head inside.

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Friday night at the Mooloolaba Surf Club

We decided to check out the Mooloolaba Surf Club on a recent visit to the Sunshine Coast and were not disappointed. It’s recently had a major upgrade and is looking rather swish. We went on a Friday night which had a very lively atmosphere. There wasn’t a spare table to be seen but this popular club uses a buzzer system which is very efficient. You are greeted by a hostess on arrival who asks how many diners are in your party and gives you a buzzer which goes off when a table becomes available.

We were all set to have a drink at the bar but ended up waiting less than 5 minutes. Don’t be put off if a Surf Club bistro looks crowded as the tables tend to turn over quickly. Menus are on the table but you order at the counter and buy your drinks from the bar. This keeps costs down and ensures the food arrives quickly. We were lucky enough to get a table directly beside the beach but pretty much all of them overlook the ocean. On this visit we decided to go for dinner but lunch or breakfast is perhaps a better option as it means you can fully appreciate the view.

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Garlic & cheese pizza bread

We began with cheese and garlic pizza bread and then moved onto mains.  Because the bistro was busy it was easy to check out what everybody was eating on the way back from the bar. The menu includes a selection of Surf Club Legends which are meals that have reached legendary status at the Mooloolaba club. I opted for one of these – Fish, Prawns, Calamari & Chips – which really was legendary. I’ve paid upwards of $20 for calamari at fancier restaurants and it was nowhere near as tender as this.  If I’d known how good it would be, the Salt & Pepper Squid would have been top of my list.

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Fish, prawns, calamari & chips
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Eye fillet

My husband ordered the Eye Fillet which was beautifully cooked and like all items from the grill selection, included a ‘help yourself’ serving of roast vegetables from the carvery buffet. The rather unglamorous-looking presentation of the meal in the photo is my husband’s fault, not the Surf Club’s. Loading your plate with veges while holding a large camera is apparently a bit tricky. Another Surf Club must do is buying a ticket in the raffle. During busy times you will usually find a couple of lifesavers walking around the club selling tickets. Sales help the Surf Club save lives so it’s good karma to buy a ticket or two.

Heading to the Sunshine Coast? We’ve got lots of helpful information to help make this your best trip yet including accommodation reviews for Eumarella Shores Noosa Lake Retreat Review, Oceans Mooloolaba, Rumba Beach Resort, Seahaven Noosa, Luxury Entertainer’s Haven, On the Beach Noosa, Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort and Peppers Resort & Villas Review. We’ve also reviewed Australia Zoo Review, Kanu Kapers Everglades Tours, SEA LIFE Mooloolaba, Sails Restaurant Noosa, Noosa helicopter tours, Noosa Oceanrider, Noosa Dreamboats, and Betty’s Burgers Noosa. Don’t miss our tips for Things to do on the Sunshine Coast, Noosa Things to Do for Active Travellers, The Best Restaurants at Mooloolaba, The Ultimate Guide to Noosa, Things to do at Mooloolaba, Healthy Noosa Holidays, Where to Find the Best Views on Hastings Street, and How to Plan Your Noosa Honeymoon.

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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.