The prop admitted his side arrived Down Under elated after a Grand Slam in the RBS 6 Nations, but he believes the hard lessons of a 27-19 defeat in Brisbane will be beneficial. The Wallabies hit back from their shock midweek 9-6 defeat to Scotland on Saturday, leaving Wales with plenty to do to get back into the three-Test series.
"For a lot of the youngsters it was the first time they had played in the southern hemisphere," Jenkins said. "Some of them were still walking on cloud nine a bit after winning the Grand Slam at home. But we all learned it is a different kettle of fish and you do well to win in the southern hemisphere."
Wales' task has been made even tougher by the news Toby Faletau is out of the rest of the tour after breaking his hand in that first Test loss. The defeat brought to an end Wales' six-match unbeaten run this year.
Jenkins, an 88-cap veteran, knows better than most how hard it is to beat the best of the southern hemisphere having won just once and drawn once in 23 games against Tri-nations sides.
He said: "People had been talking us up but I realise how hard it is to play against Australia, even when they are missing a few quality players. We will really have to tighten up before next week. We have got to be right at the top of our game to get anywhere near a win down here."
Jenkins also had some clear ideas about where the game was won and lost.
"They upped the intensity and the tempo in the first 20 minutes and Will Genia got runners working off him and we suffered with the pace," he said. "We played a little bit too much rugby in our half in the first half, whereas in the second half we played a lot more in their territory and forced them to make mistakes.
"We also made two poor defensive errors, which we won't be proud of, and we have to put that right."
Wales meet Super League outfit the Brumbies on Tuesday night - lock Luke Charteris the only survivor from Brisbane in the team - before heading to Melbourne for the second Test. Caretaker coach Rob Howley has called up Melbourne Rebels' Gareth Delve from outside his original 34-man squad as a replacement for Faletau.