With a 2006 population of 4,824, Alexandra is the main centre for the Central Otago district. It is 195 km north-west of Dunedin and 95 km south-east of Queenstown, at the junction of the Clutha/Mata-Au and Manuherikia rivers. Gold dredging boomed in the 1890s and 1900s – but after this, Alexandra was quiet. The arched steel bridge opened in 1958, replacing the swing bridge, whose masonry pillars still stand. The electric clock on the hill above was installed in 1968. Since 1957 the town has staged an annual blossom festival in spring (September). The Central Stories museum opened in 2005. It replaced the William Bodkin museum, named after the local MP and community leader.

Meaning of place name
The ‘lower Dunstan’ goldfield settlement formed in 1862 was named Alexandra in 1863, when Queen Victoria’s eldest son Albert Edward married Princess Alexandra of Denmark. It was orignally called 'South Alexandra' but the 'South' was dropped when the Alexandra in the North Island was renamed 'Pirongia'. The Popes say (of Pirongia), 'The name was changed to 'Pirongia' in 1896 to avoid confusion with the flourishing Central Otago gold town'.