Australian media have again promised a transtasman bubble is just "days away" - but the Prime Minister's office has poured cold water on the idea for now.
The Australian reports Prime Minister Scott Morrison was preparing to announce deals with state governments to kickstart the bubble, with Sydney and Adelaide tipped as the first places to welcome New Zealanders quarantine-free.
Government sources told the publication an announcement on the bubble plans was expected before next week.
The Australian Government this week formed a tourism taskforce to revive the ailing sector, which planned to open state borders by December 1 and welcome Kiwis travelling to the country - without quarantine - by next month.
But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has put the brakes on the restart plan, saying conversations about transtasman quarantine-free travel were still ongoing and no decisions had yet been made.
When contacted by the Herald tonight, a spokeswoman for the Prime Minister's office referred to Ardern's recent comments on the proposed arrangement.
Ardern yesterday told Sunrise she hoped a transtasman travel bubble of some sort would be in place by Christmas, but would take an "evidence and research"-based approach to the idea.
"I think we are all looking for that outcome," she said.
"As much as we would hate to admit it, I think we miss each other.
"We'll be looking to what decision you make as to what qualifies as a hotspot but I do think this opens up some opportunities," she said.
Ardern said she wanted to ensure she felt confident that the transtasman bubble would be the right decision for New Zealand before she agreed to it.
In another morning interview, Ardern told Today that New Zealand had "always been open to" arrangements with states handling coronavirus well.
"There have been a number of states that have had huge success with Covid and have had status that has meant that, yes, that could be a possibility," Ardern said.
However, she put the ball back in Australia's court, saying it had changed its position.
"Previously, there was a bit of a view that you wanted movement between states before you would be looking to New Zealand," she said.
"Now the proposal from Australia has been to move to a hotspot regime.
"What we will need to work through is what the definition of a hotspot really means. At what point will Australia say, 'That's an area we will put up a bit of a border around and won't have travel to'?
"That will determine whether or not in our minds that will be sufficient just to keep everybody safe."
But the Australian reports that Ardern and Morrison had discussed the upcoming plans as recently as Tuesday.
Morrison told the National Press Club in Canberra he hoped to see Kiwis holidaying in Australia "very soon".
"I can't tell you Australians will be able to holiday in New Zealand, but that's their problem," he said.
"I'm happy for Kiwi tourists to come here and spend money in NSW and South Australia. They're very, very welcome."