Although Picola’s halcyon days as a railhead for the loading of wheat, livestock and red gum logged from Barmah State Forest and processed in local mills have long gone, the village’s proximity to the Murray resorts of Moama and Echuca keeps it on the tourism map.
Picola, with its 130 citizens, is set on irrigated land about 15km north-east of the NSW-Victoria border and Moama. The twin towns of Moama and Echuca are living memorials to the golden era of the Murray paddle-steamers.
These days the steamers Pevensey, which enjoyed television fame as the Philadelphia in the mini-series All The Rivers Run, Alexander Arbuthnot and Adelaide are permanent, working fixtures alongside the spectacular red gum wharf at Echuca.
You can explore Barmah State Park and Forest, which cover a combined area of 29,500ha, on a 60km self-drive tour which takes in such historic sites as Muster Yard, Punt Paddock Lagoon, Cornalla Landing and Green Engine. Some of the reserve land gums reach 45m into the sky and are more than 500 years old.