This zone's historic journey begins at the Port of Echuca office on Murray Esplanade, where you can purchase a ticket that gets you into several historic buildings. The Bridge Hotel was built by Henry Hopwood, ex-convict father of Echuca, who had the foresight to establish a punt, and then to build a bridge at this commercially strategic point on the river. The Star Hotel, built in the 1860s, has an underground bar and escape tunnel, which was used by after-hours drinkers in the 19th century to evade the police. The Historic Wharf displays the heavy-duty side of the river trade, including a warehouse, old railroad tracks, and riverboats. Among the vessels docked at the wharf is the PS Adelaide (built in 1866), the world's oldest operating wooden-hulled paddle steamer.
One-hour river excursions aboard the historic Pevensey, and the Alexander Arbuthnot (Echuca Paddlesteamers), and the Canberra and Emmylou, a 19th-century
style boat built in 1980–82 for a television series (Murray River Paddlesteamers), are a refreshing treat at the end of a hot summer's day. The paddle wheelers depart regularly from 10:15 am to 2:30 pm, with a 3:45 pm cruise sailing on weekends and public holidays; tickets are available from the port office or Bond Store on Murray Esplanade; a one-hour cruise on the PS Emmylou costs A$27.