The Ireland international has been out for over two weeks since suffering a broken hand in his side's win over Queensland Reds earlier this month.
However, the 29-year-old has recovered well enough to be included in the team to face the Wallabies, and Gatland says that Bowe's selection is down to his commendable attitude.
"Credit to the surgeon who performed the operation because there were other surgeons who said it was a 6-8 week injury. He was confident that if he looked after himself Tommy could be back in three weeks," Gatland told the official Lions website.
"He has got a hurling glove he is wearing for a little bit of extra protection, but he has worked hard to get back. It is what you expect from a professional sportsman and all the players have been very conscientious about recovering after games and looking after themselves.
"If they have had a knock they've had early nights and Tommy just epitomises one of 39 of the squad and how diligent they have been in looking after themselves. He is obviously quality and he brings a lot of experience. He has been a fantastic player for both Ulster and Ireland and he has made a fantastic recovery from injury and he has slotted in really well this week."
The Lions face Australia in the second Test on Saturday and currently lead the series 1-0.