The Archway Islands are the premier drawcard at Wharariki Beach, especially at sunset. The fastest way there is over the shorter Whakariki Beach Track. But if you are in too much of a rush, you may not notice that the two islands actually have 3 large arches. To see them all clearly, you need to walk the length of the beach.
From most angles, you can only see one of the three arches. Although there are two on the beach facing side of the larger island, there is only a narrow angle where you can see both. Look away for 30 seconds while you walk by and you will miss it. The third arch is on the smaller island and you can only see this from the west end of the beach.
The islands also look completely different depending on where you are. From the west end, you will probably think it is one island with one big arch! You will miss the other two arches if you don’t walk towards the east end of the beach.