After guiding the British and Irish Lions to their first series victory in 16 years, Gatland returns to the helm of the Welsh side and while he is looking for a big campaign from Wales, he is fully aware of the task ahead.
"It's going to be a tough autumn," said Gatland.
"We start with South Africa first up, obviously they had a huge win over Argentina at the weekend and then we face Argentina who we know will get better as the Rugby Championship goes on. We play Tonga on a Friday night and finish up with Australia again, so we know it's going to be tough.
"We have always thrived on testing ourselves against the best. We will be doing that again in November and it will be ideal preparation going into the Six Nations early next year.
"We should be really proud of what our Welsh players have achieved and we need to make sure that those players who have done well with Wales and the Lions recently kick on from that.
"We need to have a good autumn series."
Sixteen Welsh players played their part in the series success Down Under this summer and that confidence will feed back into the Welsh set-up according to Gatland.
"I think those players involved would have gained a huge amount of confidence from the tour," he added.
"They all came away with a lot of credit. They were in great shape physically and a lot of those players were key components in the test side.
"It's always a challenge post Lions, the players will be excited and motivated but we must make sure we keep them fresh.
"With Wales the last three times we played Australia it's gone right down to the wire. We have led into the last couple of minutes, only to have the heartbreak at the end but I'm a great believer in learning from those scenarios.
"The players who went through those experiences have learnt and developed from it and a prime example was the performance in the last game of the Six Nations against England where they played so well.
"It will be great for the team to be back at the Millennium Stadium in the autumn, back in front of their home fans and to return to the scene of where they clinched the RBS 6 Nations title earlier this year."
The autumn campaign will prepare Gatland and his squad for next year's title defence but it is also an opportunity to give vital international experience to younger members of the squad with the World Cup in mind.
"I'm also conscious of giving our youngsters an opportunity to perform," said Gatland.
"Keeping in mind the World Cup is just two years away we need to make sure we keep working with the younger guys and developing them as we look to increase our squad depth.
"I'm really excited about the next couple of years.
"We left New Zealand (RWC 2011) feeling unfulfilled even after what we achieved and with this Welsh squad we could do really well at the next World Cup.
"There are two or three players in their early thirties but everyone else is early and mid-twenties and they have not one but a couple of World Cups ahead of them and that's really exciting."
Tickets to see Wales in action at the Millennium Stadium in the 2013 Dove Men Series - against South Africa, Argentina, Tonga and Australia - on consecutive weekends from 9thNovember are available now online at www.wru.co.uk/tickets, prices from £25, £10 concession.
Wales Dove Men Series 2013 fixtures:
Wales v South Africa - Saturday, 9 November, Kick-Off 5.30pm - £70 / £60 / £40 / £25
Wales v Argentina - Saturday, 16 November, Kick-Off 2.30pm - £40 / £30 / £10 concession (U16) /£70 Family ticket 2 adults + 2 concession
Wales v Tonga - Friday, 22 November, Kick-Off 7.30pm - £25 / £10 concession/ £60 Family ticket 2 adult + 2 concession/ Minis/Juniors/Schools offer, with every 8 concessions purchased 2 adult tickets free
Wales v Australia - Saturday, 30 November, Kick-Off 5.00pm - £70 / £60 / £40 / £25