Banyan Drive and Lili’uokalani Park
To reach this drive, as you head down Highway 11 toward Hilo Bay, you will reach an intersection with Kamehameha Avenue. Continue straight and as the road curves to the right you’ll see graceful and stately banyan trees lining the road on the left. Many trees are named for those who planted them including Amelia Earhart, King George V, Babe Ruth, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Richard Nixon. On the right are Hilo hotels. Continuing along Banyan Drive, you will see the lovely Lili’uokalani Park adjoining Hilo Bay. This park is only one of several parks and gardens in this area. Lili’uokalani Park and Gardens is a 30-acre (120,000 m2) city park with Japanese gardens, located on Banyan Drive in Hilo on the island of Hawaii.
The park’s site was given by Queen Lili’uokalani, and lies southeast of downtown Hilo, on the Waiakea Peninsula in Hilo Bay. Much of the park now consists of Edo-style Japanese gardens, built in the early 1900s, and said to be the largest such gardens outside Japan. The gardens contain Waihonu Pond as well as bridges, carp ponds, pagodas, statues, torii, and a Japanese teahouse.
Close to this park is the small Coconut Island (Mokuola), connected to the park with a footbridge. A good place for a picnic and some limited swimming. There is stone tower on the east side of the island which is the remnant of the old footbridge which was wiped out by a tidal wave. From Coconut Island, one has a great view of Hilo Bayfront, Downtown Hilo, and the rest of Hilo Bay. To the East, you can see the massive breakwater protecting Hilo Bay.