Cockatoo is named after Cockatoo Creek, which runs through the town, and which the town was previously named.
Cockatoo's small commercial centre is located along a steep section of McBride Street and includes a small supermarket and a selection of cafes and other places to eat.
The Puffing Billy tourist railway line crosses right next to the shops at the base of McBride Street, recreating those days of stream train travel from long ago as it regularly passes through the town centre.
Cockatoo has a good selection of sporting facilities. In the town centre along the west side of Pakenham Road is a bowling club, basketball courts, tennis courts and other recreational facilities. The Cockatoo Sports Complex is located in Mountain Road and consists of an indoor stadium, oval, athletics track and netball courts.
Bushwalkers are well catered for in Cockatoo with Wright Forest. The main access points are off Bailey Road and Wright Road where there are a network of walking tracks through the native bushland. Cockatoo's picturesque location in the Dandenong Ranges means there are a number of scenic drives one can take. Paternoster Road provides views over lush rolling pastures to the south of town, while a journey along the unmade Phillip Road takes visitors through some of the town's highly productive farming areas. Pakenham Road hugs the Cockatoo Creek on its journey southwards through towering eucalypt forests which eventually open up when approaching the small community of Mount Burnett. And a drive north along the road to Woori Yallock passes through lush grazing land with a backdrop of the surrounding mountain ranges.
- Mount Burnett
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