Koh Sock Hwee’s Travel Black Book

Coffee, tee and mee

The professional golfer is drawn to Melbourne's brew culture and golf courses

Who: Professional golfer Koh Sock Hwee, 26, the only Singaporean competing in the ninth HSBC Women's Champions at Sentosa Golf Club, which ends today.

Favourite destination: Melbourne, Australia

Why: Melbourne is home to some of the best golf courses in the Asia-Pacific region. I am also a fan of its strong coffee culture, where high-quality coffee is easily attainable.

Favourite place to stay

Melbourne has many wonderful hotels, but on both occasions I travelled there with other golfers on the Singapore national team, we stayed in serviced apartments.

Staying in a serviced apartment allows us to bond as a team. We can cook and do our laundry, which can be fun and saves money.

I use Espresso Apartments (www.espressoapartments.com.au/melbourne-apartments) when looking for accommodation in Melbourne.

Favourite restaurant

Lucky Chan Seafood Restaurant (Crown Casino, 31-33 Whiteman Street, Southbank; tel: +61-3-9696- 3966; www.crownmelbourne.com.au/restaurants/casual/lucky-chan) specialises in Cantonese cuisine and serves sustainably farmed live seafood.

It is famous for lobster noodles. The noodles are springy and the gravy is fragrant.

Surprise find

While in Melbourne for the Victorian Amateur 2014, my teammates and I stayed in the St Kilda neighbourhood and chanced upon a gelato shop called 7Apples (www.7applesgelato.com) after dinner one evening. There was a long queue at the shop, but we were all craving for dessert so it did not stop us.

Even now I can still remember the taste of the dark chocolate gelato, which was so good I went back for the same flavour every night of our stay.

Favourite coffee place

Market Lane Coffee (Queen Victoria Market, Shop 73-76 Dairy Produce Hall; tel: +61-3-9320-5822; marketlane.com.au). I like strong-flavoured coffee that is not too acidic and I find the coffee here exactly to my liking. A skinny latte, my coffee of choice, costs about A$4 (S$4).

Favourite golf courses

The West and East courses at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club (Cheltenham Road; Black Rock; tel: +61-3-9599-0500; www.royalmelbourne.com.au) - a 36-hole club in Black Rock, a suburb south-east of Melbourne - are the No. 1 and seventh-best golf courses in Australia respectively.

Also in the south-east, Kingston Heath Golf Club (Kingston Road, Heatherton; tel: +61-3-8558-2700; www.kingstonheath.melbourne) and The National (The Cups Drive, Cape Schanck; tel:+61-3-5988-6666; www.nationalgolf.com.au) are some of my favourites.

Melbourne courses boast firm and fast greens which you have to plot your way around to give yourself the best chance to score.

The windy weather conditions in Melbourne are also very different from Singapore, where it is usually a lot calmer. It can be quite punishing, but I enjoy playing in conditions we don't get back home.

Best place for breakfast

I recommend the much-raved-about Melbourne breakfast institution, Galleon Cafe in St Kilda (9 Carlisle Street, St Kilda; tel:+61-3-9534-8934; http://on.fb.me/1oUfJRQ).

My favourite dish there is the simple but to-die-for scrambled egg on toast with bacon and avocado. I love that it is very generous with the serving of avocado and the coffee is good too. A meal here costs about A$20.

Off the beaten track

A teammate took us to Miss Marple's Tearoom (382 Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, Sassafras; tel: +61-3-9755-1610; www.missmarplestearoom.com) in the suburb of Sassafras.

It's about a 50-minute drive from the Melbourne Central Business District.

Nestled in the Dandenong Mountains, the countryside restaurant and cafe has a traditional English feel in homage of Miss Marple, a character created by mystery novelist Agatha Christie.

Set in a Tudor- style building, the restaurant is full of lace and floral decor.

We spent the morning hiking at Mount Dandenong, then heading to the restaurant before it opened at 11am. We were warned there would be a crowd and, sure enough, even though we arrived early, there was a queue.

In addition to cottage pie, fish and chips and finger sandwiches, the tea room is famous for its scones. They are definitely worth the wait. They were soft and fluffy and the homemade jam served alongside complemented the taste very well.

Necessary tours

Check out the famous Queen Victoria Market (www.qvm.com.au), a historic landmark which takes up two blocks in the centre of the city.

Open five days a week - on Tuesday and from Thursday to Sunday - it is a great place to see and sample Australian produce, gourmet food and seafood. I particularly love the fresh oysters and prawns.

For wine lovers, there are many vineyards in the Mornington Peninsula, south-east of the city, or in Yarra Valley to the east. Each is about a 11/2-hour drive from the city.

You can explore the wineries on your own or join one of the region's many wine tours.

You also cannot miss the amazing views of The Twelve Apostles, limestone stacks which jut out of the sea.

About 275km west of Melbourne, they are about a four-hour drive from the city along the Great Ocean Road.

Tips for travellers

Rent a car if you are exploring beyond the inner city as Melbourne is huge.

And always have a jumper with you wherever you go. You never know when the weather will change or how chilly it can be when you are not in the sun.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 06, 2016, with the headline 'Coffee, tee and mee'. Print Edition | Subscribe