Watch: Dan Walker has said goodbye to BBC Breakfast after filming his final show
The 45-year-old TV presenter is leaving the BBC after 13 years to host Channel 5's 5pm news programme, and celebrated his last day on the big red sofa with former colleague Minchin, 53 and co-host Sally Nugent, 50.
Minchin arrived in the studio and asked him, "Are we going to break the rule of a lifetime?" before embracing him.
She explained: "I say break the habit of a lifetime because all the years we sat here - we never touched."
Walker and Minchin worked together on the breakfast show for six years before she departed herself last September after 20 years.
Walker said of his last day: "It's strange because it's a weird old mixture.
"I'm sad because I love working here, I love all the people and I love working with you [Nugent] and I had a lovely time working with Louise for so many years.
"But it's also exciting because you don't get many opportunities like the one I'm going to take and I love a new challenge."
The former sports journalist was also surprised by a live video interview with Maria De Cezar, who gate-crashed his live BBC coverage of the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in Brazil in 2016, during her hen party.
She and Walker have kept in touch since the chance encounter eight years ago and she was joined by her husband and young daughter.
He said: "There are some terrible people in TV but I don't know any near here because we all get on and we are all friends."
The father-of-three added: "At a time when trust and truth have never been more important, we do everything to make sure that what we do is fair and accurate."
Walker added that while he did not know who his replacement would be, he hoped they continued to do the same.
Addressing Nugent, who he has known for many years, he said: "You can take this show and make it amazing like you've already done, you're a very special person.
"Getting up at 3am can be tough sometimes, but we've all done it."
The pair shared an emotional hug as the credits rolled.
Walker has hosted BBC Breakfast since 2016 and was only recently joined on the sofa by Nugent after Minchin departed eight months ago.
He competed in the 19th series of Strictly last year and finally left the BBC dance competition with professional partner Nadiya Bychkova in the quarter-final after weeks of evading the dance-off thanks to votes from viewers.
Before he joined the BBC Breakfast team Walker presented Football Focus on BBC from 2009 to 2021.
Watch: Dan Walker admitted feeling sad to say goodbye to BBC Breakfast