When I have to stay in Sydney one of my favourite retail therapy areas is Charing Cross in Waverley. Up to a a few years ago it was a slightly run-down nondescript area with an over-supply of Hardware and Builders Supplies outlets. It also had the odd Aussie Chip shop; a quaint "Ladies Hairdresser" with pink tiles and big "Drying Helmets", a few "Ladies Fashion" outlets and a Bakery that sold finger buns with pink icing.
As with all things in the Eastern Suburbs it is being rapidly gentrified but there is still vestiges of quirkiness that make it worth visiting. It still has the best St. Vinnies around (all those out of season designer labels have to go somewhere); there is Iku Wholefood; Shasta Bray Boutique; Bizarre Pets, specialising in scorpions and Wolf Spiders (they don't sell snakes anymore); the Verona Bakery,still selling pink finger buns along with Palmier and Croissants; and some great coffee shops including the famous Fideli's; a recent cafe newcomer, Bellagio, and not forgetting "Istvans Cuisine From The Heart Of Europe" where you can find freshly baked bagels and buns, great coffee and a slight infatuation with Soccer.
Every time I visit Charing Cross something has changed, not always for the better but so far not totally for the worst either. The Cross has a sense of place that is missing in the chrome jungle of the recently completed Westfield Mega Mall in the Junction and the feral grunge of the Bondi Beach Backpacker Hell strip.