Whether you're Melbourne born and bred or a newbie to this great city, the Melbourne Golden Mile Heritage Trail is a great way to see a different perspective of the city and learn a bit about its history. Plus, it's FREE!
You can either complete the walk independently/with friends, or you can call into the nearby tourist information centre at Federation Square and book a guided tour (costs about $30); but with the internet at hand for fact finding, maybe walking the golden mile minus the tour guide may be a better option.
The trail begins outside the immigration museum, which is quite poignant as apparently this is also the location where Melbourne was first settled by Europeans before expanding. Despite being called "The Golden Mile" its distance is actually about 4km and the walk is easy to follow as there are golden plates all the way along the walk with each large gold plate being outside the relevant landmark. As well as this, to make sure you can find the next plate, there's smaller golden dots connecting them; plus when arriving at street intersections, they also have a little arrow embossed onto the plaque letting you know which street to cross. To help with this, I've attached a photo of the starting point (Immigration Museum):
Completing the walk can take up to three and a half hours at a leisurely pace, plus it's definitely worth carrying a camera with you. The walk is also within the free tram zone, so if you're feeling a bit tired or just want to take some shortcuts you can just jump on a tram at no extra cost.
As you're in the heart of the CBD there's also going to be plenty of opportunities to stop off in a café and recharge over a coffee and a bite to eat or even take a detour and squeeze in a bit of shopping.
So this walk can either be a little photography outing, or a fun way to learn a bit of local history and get some exercise at the same time. As mentioned, it starts at the Immigration Museum and it then finishes at the Exhibition building, so you could even finish the walk off by calling into the museum which is next door. As the walk is free, if you're wanting to gain a deeper understanding of each landmark, it may be worth noting each building then looking them up online. But even without the background history, all the buildings are still pretty impressive to stand and admire.
I've also added some extra photos to give a little snap shot of the impressive buildings that you'll be able to admire.