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>Life Of The Party At 83: Les Lisle

Life Of The Party At 83: Les Lisle – Kiwi Experience Legend

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At 83 years of age, Les Lisle still knows how to party with the best of them, hosting nightly parties for Kiwi Experience travelers

Media Information
13 May 2008


At 83 years of age Lake Mahinapua Hotel owner-operator, Les Lisle still knows how to party with the best of them, after hosting nightly parties for exuberant backpackers for the past 15 years.

Stopovers at the Lake Mahinapua Hotel - or Poo Pub for short – are always the highlight of the Kiwi Experience bus tours, and are legendary thanks to host Les.

Les gained his reputation for being a bit of a party animal late in life, when he started hosting the Kiwi Experience bus at the tender age of 68. But he has shown that he can keep pace with the young 20-somethings that hop off the bus to party at his pub nightly.

“We’ve had crazy get-ups at some of the parties – plastic bags, underwear, body paint, lads dressed as ladies - and we always have a bit of a fashion parade on the pool table for some of the more outrageous costumes,” says Les.

A typical day for Les involves getting up at 8am to hook up the internet for his patrons use and organising dinner for a bus full of backpackers, which includes peeling 100-odd potatoes himself and organising venison stew - a local delicacy - for up to 50 people. Of course, the most important task of the day for Les is making sure there is enough beer on tap for all the revelers!

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Les with his collection of over 3,000 hats, bestowed on him by Kiwi Experience travelers

He always hops on the Kiwi Experience bus as soon as it arrives at the pub, introduces himself to the travelers and goes through some quick housekeeping.

“They don’t always remember it –I’ve often had to go around and encourage some of them to bed in the wee small hours. I always get up and check that everything’s alright, which means a pretty late night sometimes,” says Les.

Les has also got quite a memorabilia collection from his 15 years as the Poo Pub party host.

“I’ve got 3,000 hats and over 3,500 Polaroids on the wall. Each new bus loves looking over them and they always want to leave their own mark on the pub so I often get a few more photos or an extra hat before departure time in the morning.”

When asked what his least favourite thing about all the late night parties is at the age of 83 is, Les says he doesn’t know what he would do without them.

“I like the young people, I’d miss it if I didn’t have the bus come and stop daily,” says Les.

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Les gets into the party spirit with a group of neon clad Kiwi Experience revelers

“I’ll definitely be partying until the day I die and when I kick the bucket I’ve said that I want to be taken up to the cemetery in the Kiwi Experience bus because it’s been such a huge part of my life.”

Kiwi Experience is New Zealand’s legendary hop-on, hop-off backpacker bus operator, appealing primarily to international travellers aged 18-35. Next year, Kiwi Experience will celebrate 20 years of showcasing New Zealand to international tourists in its iconic, big, green buses.

The Lake Mahinapua Hotel is situated just out of the South Island settlement of Hokitika on New Zealand’s rugged and beautiful West Coast.


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