Nanaimo, BC is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, 113 km north of Victoria, and 55 km across the Strait of Georgia from Vancouver. The city projects out into the strait like a headland, affording waterfront on three sides, and spectacular ocean views at every turn. BC Ferry terminals in Departure Bay and Duke Point link Nanaimo directly to the Vancouver metro area, and smaller ferries offer service to and from several islands pressed up against the shore here. Gabriola Island, Protection Island, and Mudge Island (without ferry service) are home to small communities, while forest and field-covered Newcastle Island is designated as a provincial park. The local landscape is defined by Mount Benson, which rises 1,006 metres (3,300 feet) just west of Nanaimo, and the Nanaimo River estuary, the largest estuary on Vancouver Island, which flows into Nanaimo Harbour at the south end of the city.