Cyclists will be able to avoid hills and stick to cycle lanes thanks a new feature of Google Maps New Zealand.

In addition to driving and walking directions, Google maps today launched its latest feature designed to help cyclists plot their travel and get more Kiwis to get on their bikes.

Cycling Directions includes information from bike trails, cycling lanes lanes and bicycle-friendly streets to help users find the safest, most efficient and flattest routes.

The new feature would be well used, especially by commuters, recreational cyclists and visitors, predicted Auckland Central Cycling Club president Richard Justice.


"The addition of a cycling-specific alternative would be a valuable addition. I would suspect over time people will specifically map out preferred rides," he said.

Auckland and Wellington councils, Auckland Transport and The National Cycle Trails Project were among organisations that contributed information to the Google feature.

A second feature called Map Maker has also been launched on the Google site. It lets Kiwis use their local knowledge to amend maps, adding map landmarks and facilities that haven't been included.

The feature was expected to be particularly useful in Christchurch, where several roads are under construction or closed.

Once contributions are approved, they will appear on Google Maps, Google Earth and Google Maps.