Travel blog on one-of-a-kind travel experiences

Cruising Sydney Harbour aboard the MV Birchgrove Yacht


The Wharf Birchgrove, built in 2009, is located on the site of a former shipyard owned by the Stannard Brothers boat building company, and sits directly above Sydney’s largest private wharf. Constructed in 1946, the 70m jetty was once a working wharf handling all manner of goods, and home to boat sheds and garages for ship repairs.

A number of antique fixtures such as a derrick crane, hand winch and fire-fighting equipment have been salvaged and retained, acting as a fascinating reminder of the wharf’s colourful past life.

Yacht director and captain Luke Magennis’ pride and joy, the 50ft MV Birchgrove is moored mid-way along the jetty opposite another sea-going beauty.

The Norwegian-built Windy Triton Sports Cruiser holds the distinction of being the first luxury charter yacht in Australia with IPS drives (Inboard Propulsion System) in Australia.

Luke suggests a sunset cruise on the harbour… Moet included. Who could refuse?

Justine Tyerman with Captain Luke Magennis on the MV Birchgrove

Justine with Captain Luke on the MV Birchgrove

The MV Birchgrove pulls away from the wharf

The MV Birchgrove pulls away from the wharf

The blustery conditions put the grunty twin Volvos to the test, skimming the choppy winter waves with ease. In fact the weather gave Luke the opportunity to display his superb captaincy skills, manoeuvring the boat effortlessly into the jetty with winds of up to 25 knots.

He took us on a fabulous guided tour of Goat Island, Darling Harbour and Cockle Bay, under the harbour bridge and past the opera house. The iconic shells of the roof were glowing pink and gold in the fading light.

Sydney Opera House from the MV Birchgrove

Sydney Opera House from the MV Birchgrove

Sydney Harbour Bridge from the MV Birchgrove

Sydney Harbour Bridge from the MV Birchgrove

The Windy Triton is pure luxury. With a spacious, well-appointed galley and lounge, two televisions with Foxtel, WIFI and Bose, the three-cabin, two-bathroom boat can sleep six and has ample entertaining space for 12.

Luke is a versatile fellow. He used to work as a skipper for one of Australia’s wealthiest families, travelling with them all around the world, and has also had considerable event management experience. He’s just as at ease behind the wheel of a super yacht as he is overseeing cocktails and canapés for 50 on the patio by the pool . . . but I suspect he prefers the former.

He’s helped entertain many celebrities, VIPs and the occasional Middle Eastern prince on the boat, by the pool or in the formal dining room at The Wharf Birchgrove.

Next time we’re in Sydney, Luke has promised to take us whale watching – he has an excellent strike rate judging from his photos of humpbacks breaching the waters off the coast.


About Author

Justine Tyerman is an award-winning New Zealand journalist, travel writer and sub-editor with 18 years' experience in newspaper and freelance work. She has worked as a news reporter, feature writer, designer of an award-winning Newspapers in Education programme and sub-editor on local, national, business, education and international desks.

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