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The Blue Mountains west of Sydney once seemed a wild and seemingly impenetrable barrier to the young colony's expansion inland. Today the incredible scenery of spectacular, near vertical cliffs overlooking wild valleys and deep ravines is a major tourist attraction that draws many thousands of Australian and overseas visitors.
Short break holidays and weekend getaways are particularly popular. Everywhere there are charming guesthouses, bed and breakfasts, beautifully restored old hotels and international standard resorts, and restaurants with growing reputations. A theme of nostalgia is reflected in the cottage gardens, cafes and tearooms, art galleries, craft and antique shops found throughout the area.