Whenever I travel, although I love the excitement of new sights and tastes of exotic food, I sometimes use McDonalds as a comforting place of familiarity, a place where I don’t have to worry about what the food may taste like, a place where it is affordable – even in Sweden where a McHappy meal was around the equivalent of AUD$20, a place to use free wi-fi or get local directions and even sometimes a place to experiment with local ‘Macca’s’ ideas such as McPizza in Banff, Canada or a McBeer in Munich, Germany 😉
As a plane spotter, imagine my sheer excitement about McDonald’s in Lake Taupo, New Zealand where a part of the restaurant is inside a DC-3 aircraft! The DC-3 – one of the most revolutionary aircraft ever made with over 15,000 built!
This particular aircraft built by the Douglas Corporation in 1943, arrived in Australia later that year, to serve for the US Army Air Force, and later the Royal Australian Air Force, in the Pacific theatre of World War II.
From 1947 until 1961 the aircraft flew with Australian National Airways, Airlines of Queensland and Ansett-ANA (as Airlines of New South Wales) before being leased to South Pacific Airlines of New Zealand and being based in Auckland.
After serving time with South Pacific Airlines of New Zealand, New Zealand National Airways Corporation and a brief stint with Fiji Airways it was sold and used as a crop duster in 1971 until 1984 when it was withdrawn from service. It finally moved into its last role in 1990 when McDonald’s took it over as an extension of their restaurant.
So I cant help but wonder, how many other generations, veterans and backpackers of many years before the term was first coined, find this particular McDonald’s with its well travelled DC-3 a place of comforting familiarity 🙂
With thanks to freakyflier Snr for these photo’s
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Staying in Taupo for a couple of nights with a group of couples five of whom trained and worked together in the Royal New Zealand Air Force in the mid 1970s. I was fortune enough to have worked on DC3s at Whenuapai Air Base so seeing this one made wonder what it’s history, thanks for the info. They were and still are great aircraft, Best Rgds Brent H
Loved this when I was there on the weekend of the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge this year! The best place to *eat* — bar none — is almost next door at Dixie Brown’s. However, if you want the ambiance of an airplane Happy Meal without the hassle of airport security, this is the place!
We ate at the DC-3 McDonalds every night of the 3 weeks we were in Taupo, New Zealand. and enjoyed it immensely. I must have put on 10 pounds because I couldn’t wait to get my Quarter Pounder/ fries and coke and sit looking out the windows imagining what the airplane must had done in it’s flying life. I hope they keep it there forever. I’ll bet the old bird could possibly fly again. McAirliner!